Apple advances health apps with CareKit

March 22, 2016

Apple today announced CareKit, a new software framework designed to help developers enable people to actively manage their own medical conditions. iPhone apps using CareKit make it easier for individuals to keep track of care plans and monitor symptoms and medication; providing insights that help people better understand their own health. With the ability to share information with doctors, nurses or family members, CareKit apps help people take a more active role in their health.

"We're thrilled with the profound impact ResearchKit has already had on the pace and scale of conducting medical research, and have realized that many of the same principles could help with individual care," said Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer. "We believe that giving individuals the tools to understand what is happening with their is incredibly powerful, and apps designed using CareKit make this a reality by empowering people to take a more active role in their care."

CareKit will be released as an next month allowing the developer community to continue building on the first four modules designed by Apple, that include:

  • Care Card helps people track their individual care plans and action items, such as taking medication or completing physical therapy exercises. Activities can automatically be tracked and entered using sensors in Apple Watch or iPhone;
  • Symptom and Measurement Tracker lets users easily record their symptoms and how they're feeling, like monitoring temperature for possible infections or measuring pain or fatigue. Progress updates could include simple surveys, photos that capture the progression of a wound or activities calculated by using the iPhone's accelerometer and gyroscope, like quantifying range of motion;
  • Insight Dashboard maps symptoms against the action items in the Care Card to easily show how treatments are working; and
  • Connect makes it easy for people to share information and communicate with doctors, care teams or about their health and any change in condition.
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"With ResearchKit, we quickly realized the power of mobile apps for running inexpensive, high-quality clinical studies with unprecedented reach," said Ray Dorsey, MD, David M. Levy Professor of Neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "We hope that CareKit will help us close the gap between our research findings and how we care for our Parkinson's patients day-to-day. It's opening up a whole new opportunity for the democratization of research and medicine."

Developers of health and wellness apps are excited to build these CareKit modules into apps for Parkinson's patients, post-surgery progress, home health monitoring, diabetes management, mental health and maternal health.

  • Sage Bionetworks and the University of Rochester are using CareKit to turn the mPower ResearchKit study into a valuable tool to help better inform patients about their condition and care providers about treatment.
  • The Texas Medical Center is designing apps to guide and support care pathways for its 8 million patients to improve their health through enhanced connectivity with their care teams.
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center will provide patients with more insight into their own chronic care management through home health monitoring devices that securely store data in HealthKit.
  • One Drop is empowering people with a better approach to managing their diabetes.
  • Start, by Iodine, helps people on antidepressants understand if their medication is working for them or not, and helps their doctors deliver more informed care.
  • Glow, Inc. will incorporate CareKit modules into its pregnancy app, Glow Nurture, to guide women through a healthier pregnancy.

Explore further: Parkinson's app updated, featured by Apple

More information: For more information, visit www.apple.com/carekit.

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