Of all the announcements Apple made on Monday, ResearchKit, which measures health data from iPhone users to be used in medical research, will probably have the most impact.
Health software company LifeMap Solutions partnered with Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine to build Asthma Health, one of the first five applications that will help patients manage their conditions and help researchers collect accurate data about their symptoms, conditions, and diseases.
Corey Bridges, the CEO of LifeMap Solutions, tells Business Insider he and his team started discussing and designing the Asthma Health application last June, and “got access to the technology some time after that.”
Bridges says the Asthma Health app was created with patients and researchers in mind: It wanted to give people tools to manage and track their symptoms, and alert them to possible environmental “triggers” so they can avoid them, but there was a particular emphasis on helping researchers better understand symptoms.
“The app includes a new e-consent feature that enables Mount Sinai to recruit, consent, and enroll research participants remotely via the app without the need for an in-person contact during any phase of the study,” Bridges tells us. “This is an enormous development as it will help medical researchers overcome one of the major barriers encountered in clinical research today.”
Bridges says e-consent will offer a huge boost in the number of volunteers, which will help with recruitment and research efforts, “at a fraction of the cost” of previous methods — and in a much shorter time frame, too.
The biggest factor, according to Bridges, is Apple’s iOS platform. He thinks Apple’s technology will improve and evolve communication between doctors and patients, and help people “own and manage their health in ways that were simply not possible in the previous two thousand years of medicine.”
Bridges says, “Up until now, doctors’ most widespread method of learning about patients is to ask, ‘So, how have you been?’ But in the very near future, you, as a patient, will be able to just beam your latest biometric data to your doctor when you’re in her office. And when you’re out in the world, you’ll have an app that can be set according to your own doctor’s guidelines, for when you should proactively contact that doctor.”
You can learn more about Apple’s ResearchKit platform here.