Apple has announced a new software framework for collecting health information on iPhones, known as ResearchKit, as its event earlier today.
The new ResearchKit ties into HealthKit launched last year as an API for software developers to connect health apps on iOS. It is part of a huge push by Apple into the world of healthcare, after hiring a huge number of health specialists in 2013 and 2014.
ResearchKit was presented as the end to small sample sizes for medical research, by essentially taking the 700 million iPhone customers, tapping into their health records from HealthKit, and anonymously feeding that information to medical groups.
Apple believes this huge iPhone audience will be able to progress treatment of diseases like Parkinson’s, breast cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and asthma. It has launched a range of apps to help provide information to medical facilities, and will also tap into things like fitness records, heart-rate and other health information.
This is a huge proposition for the hundreds of millions of iPhone owners in the world, considering the health information could be used by companies to further life expectancy, figure out issues and forever remove the need for small focus groups and doctor’s check ups as ways to attain medical research.
If researchers and scientists have a broad range of users from 18 to 80, this could push the scale of research far beyond the current boundaries. Medical researchers will not be bound by those with some symptoms of the disease, but instead have people without any signs, people with small signs and people with the disease.
ResearchKit is – for the most part – an opt-in service. Apple is hoping that iPhone users join the cause and offer their support, to help medical research reach new heights.