Apple is opening its ResearchKit platform to developers and researchers who can use the tool to learn more about patient diseases and conditions, like Parkinson’s and diabetes.
The company announced ResearchKit in March, which collects data from patients via the iPhone. People with certain conditions can opt in to participate in various clinical studies and surveys (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) that can be evaluated and analyzed by medical researchers. The goal is to ultimately improve patients’ health and the ability to care for them.
While ResearchKit has already seen success with the first batch of apps that use the tool — more than 60,000 iPhone users have enrolled in the first few weeks of its launch, according to the company — Apple is now opening up the framework to anyone that wants to integrate ResearchKit into their own apps and studies. To do so, developers will add a specific Apple code into the back end of an app.
The move will allow medical researchers worldwide to collect more data about diseases on a larger scale. For those interested in participating in research, the app will ask for permission to access iPhone sensors like the accelerometer, gyroscope and other tools as a way to monitor activity. Participants can also opt in to share details about weight, blood pressure and glucose levels, so researchers can more closely examine how those relate to conditions and overall health.
The opening up of ResearchKit comes just as Apple set the date for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (June 8-12), which — for $1,599 — grants developers access to five days of sessions, labs and special events centered on building software for iOS and the Mac. While selfie sticks are banned from its premises this year, the event will likely serve as ample breeding ground for mobile innovation.