Apple created iOS 8 ResearchKit tools available for medical researchers. Researchers and app developers can now use ResearchKit to create applications to carry out medical searches in the field of medicine and health. Developers have also create new research modules to the open source framework.
Prior to its release, ResearchKit had already been employed in a small group of applications developed in collaboration with Apple. A list of applications that support ResearchKit can be found here. They were installed by over 60,000 iPhone users in the first few weeks with studies covering asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
“We are delighted and encouraged by the response to ResearchKit from the medical and research community and the participants contributing to medical research. Studies that historically attracted a few hundred participants are now attracting participants in the tens of thousands,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of operations. “Medical researchers all over the world are actively exploring how ResearchKit can help them study even more diseases, and we believe the impact on global understanding of health and wellness will be profound.”
According to Apple, the open source framework will enable any medical researcher to benefit from the initial modules in ResearchKit to study health and wellness and to better understand a disease. Developers can also build new modules based on the open source code and submit them to ResearchKit.
The following initial customizable modules address the most common elements found in research studies. These modules are:
- Participant Consent is a critical element to research studies. With ResearchKit researchers can access a visual e-consent template that can be customized to explain the details of the study and obtain participant signatures. This module makes it easy for the researcher to include elements such as video segments explaining the study and an interactive quiz to confirm the participant’s understanding.
- The Survey module provides a pre-built user interface that makes it easy to customize questions and answers for study participants to complete and immediately share with researchers.
The Active Task module enables researchers to gather more targeted data for their study by inviting participants to perform activities that generate data using the iPhone’s advanced sensors. Initial Active
- Task modules include tasks to measure motor activities, fitness, cognition and voice, and with the framework available as open source, the research community can contribute even more active tasks to ResearchKit.
Branded Content Manager at ComboApp