Disrupted Health – how Apple HealthKit is making big data available to augment and speed up health studies

Using Apple HealthKit, new big data powered studies are starting over the cause for Epilepsy, Autism and Melanoma

iDisrupted Commentary

One of the major problems with any form disease is causality – such are the complications and vast array of data points and data, much diagnosis qualifies as “informed speculation” by health workers. The collection and interpretation of those big data sets are set to be the next level of positive disruption in health.

Disrupted Health - Apple HealthKit
Disrupted Health – Apple HealthKit

Apple has taken the lead with its HealthKit product built into the operating systems of its phones and watches – recent deals with IBM collect the vast amount of meta data derived from the devices to feed analysis of complex medical conditions.

According to PatentlyApple progress is being made: “Last Saturday we posted a report titled “Boston Children’s Hospital Rolled out their new Hep-C Tracker Program and iApp that Relies on ResearchKit Exclusively.” One of the first institutions to be involved with ResearchKit was Boston Children’s Hospital. Kenneth Mandl, MD, MPH, of the Boston Children’s Hospital Informatics Program stated at the time that “Because of the ubiquity of iPhone and the elegant implementation of consent, survey and instrumented data collection, ResearchKit has enormous promise for leading the transformation of how we engage patients in research. Beyond the new Hep-C Tracker study that has begun at Boston’s Children’s Hospital, we learn today from Apple that several new ResearchKit studies have begun for autism, epilepsy and melanoma. 

In a prepared statement found on Apple’s press release, Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of Operations stated that “We’re honored to work with world-class medical institutions and provide them with tools to better understand diseases and ultimately help people lead healthier lives. In just six months, ResearchKit apps studying everything from asthma and diabetes to Parkinson’s disease, are already providing insights to scientists around the world and more than 100,000 participants are choosing to contribute their data to advance science and medical research.”

In July the participants were tallied at approximately 75,000 and so the reach of ResearchKit is expanding rapidly.