Apple held a press conference today. They announced a watch that can cost over $10,000 if you’re feeling saucy. A gold laptop if you’re feeling Midas-y. And an extension of HealthKit called ResearchKit, which is why we’ve gathered here today.
ResearchKit is “an open source software framework that makes it easy for researchers and developers to create apps that could revolutionize medical studies, potentially transforming medicine forever.” You can learn more about it here. At its launch, ResearchKit includes a rollout of five (5) apps: one for asthma, parkinson’s disease, diabetes, breast cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Again, you can learn more about each of their apps on their ResearchKit landing page.
Of course, this isn’t the first time diabetes shared the spotlight of Apple’s grand stage, remember the iBGStar? But seeing diabetes get an early adoption along with four other prominent diseases is a big deal. The fact that major hospitals and research institutions are part of this collaboration is a big deal. All of this is a very big deal. There’s a genuine opportunity to significantly impact health outcomes if widespread adoption takes off. But, the adoption must be widespread.
The patient community has to engage with these apps, assuming they are intelligently designed and don’t make data collection cumbersome. The professional research community has to promote these new apps as a simplified means of participation for patients. And the open source community needs to take the platform ResearchKit provides and run wild with the potential (provided they are given a truly open source platform to work with).
If these first five apps are met with a resounding success, where is the ceiling for what ResearchKit can accomplish? What other communities could benefit from ResearchKit serving as the bridge between patients and academia? To that end, I went on a streaming consciousness bit and thought about the possibility of ResearchKit, and of course gave it a hashtag: #WhatIfResearchKit
I invite you to share your #WhatIfResearchKit ideas. I’m going to gather what I can find up in a blog or Storify or something to keep track of what comes of this hypothesizing. Maybe it’ll be fun to revisit some of these ideas to see if we predicted anything meaningful.