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ResearchKit Receives Thousands of Sign-Ups Following Launch

Less than twenty-four hours after Apple unveiled ResearchKit, the open source medical framework had received thousands of sign-ups, according to Bloomberg. The report claims that Stanford University researchers awoke on Tuesday morning, the day after Apple's "Spring Forward" media event, to discover that 11,000 people signed up for MyHeart Counts, a cardiovascular disease app built using ResearchKit.
“To get 10,000 people enrolled in a medical study normally, it would take a year and 50 medical centers around the country,” said Alan Yeung, medical director of Stanford Cardiovascular Health. “That’s the power of the phone.”
ResearchKit is an open source software framework aimed at revolutionizing medical studies by making them more readily available to millions of iPhone users worldwide. When given permission, the framework uses the iPhone's various sensors to collect user data such as weight, blood pressure, glucose levels and asthma inhaler use, information that Apple hopes will open up new possibilities for researchers.

ResearchKit
Apple will also enable users to answer surveys and input data directly from ResearchKit apps, although researchers caution that information collected from an iPhone user may be misleading due to various potential flaws. For starters, the report claims that iPhone users are more likely to have a graduate or doctoral degree than Android users, and the demographic differences can allegedly skew the results.
“Just collecting lots of information about people -- who may or may not have a particular disease, and may or may not represent the typical patient -- could just add noise and distraction,” said Lisa Schwartz, professor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, in an e-mail. “Bias times a million is still bias.”
Meanwhile, an iPhone user simply hitting a button by accident or giving his smartphone to someone else can also result in misleading data. Nevertheless, there are issues with data collected through traditional clinical trials as well, and ResearchKit allowing people to engage in medical research more easily is still valuable and, as Apple claims, could transform the way that medicine is approached forever.



Top Rated Comments

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23 months ago
I'm not sure 99% really have any clue just how powerful and amazing the Apple Watch is going to be, when integrated with this type of capabilities!
Rating: 13 Votes
23 months ago

One thing I find really sad about this, is that Apple promoted the 700+ million iPhones the've sold as a way of indicating the scale of this initiative, but at the same time limits participation to the US. As a Dutch citizen I cannot download the apps in the app store. I know this might change "in the future", but still...


Didn't realize that.. Restricting things like Apple Pay, iTunes Radio, etc make sense (even though it still annoys me), but this doesn't really make sense. Okay, so it's US hospitals conducting the research, but wouldn't more data be valuable?

Seems silly.. Especially like you pointed out, they boast about the number of iPhone users being so high. True, there are probably still a ton of US iPhone users (I'm not sure if the total of all other countries vs the US is higher or lower), but obviously more world-wide


Don't know this for sure, but the restriction may relate to the HIPAA rules in the US associated with the flow of private medical data and/or similar/related laws in other countries. The legislative landscape for health-related information is bound to be quite difficult to navigate, especially when taken at an international scope...
Rating: 8 Votes
23 months ago
This is ground breaking and perhaps the most important unveil of the keynote. No doubt some new rules and guidelines will need to be established from the traditional methods. If I was a researcher I would be licking my chops. And kudos to Apple for making this open source.
Rating: 6 Votes
23 months ago
Thats Amazing! I really hope they make some breakthroughs with the help of it.
Rating: 5 Votes
23 months ago
US Only

One thing I find really sad about this, is that Apple promoted the 700+ million iPhones the've sold as a way of indicating the scale of this initiative, but at the same time limits participation to the US. As a Dutch citizen I cannot download the apps in the app store. I know this might change "in the future", but still...
Rating: 4 Votes
23 months ago
I'm assuming most of these people are Apple fans just wanting to see the app. Can anyone just use these apps even if they don't have the disease?
Rating: 2 Votes
23 months ago

One thing I find really sad about this, is that Apple promoted the 700+ million iPhones the've sold as a way of indicating the scale of this initiative, but at the same time limits participation to the US. As a Dutch citizen I cannot download the apps in the app store. I know this might change "in the future", but still...


marketing is all about skewing those numbers
Rating: 2 Votes
23 months ago
iPhone vs Android Users

"iPhone users are more likely to have a graduate or doctoral degree than Android users"

Haha! Well, I guess if you want to have indigent people included in your medical studies Android will just have to make their own version of ResearchKit. :p
Rating: 2 Votes
23 months ago

Also, what happens if someone decided to sign up for one of these things, and then changes his/her mind? Can he/she opt back out of the research?


Any study affiliated with a university/medical center has to have IRB (Institutional Review Board) approval. Part of this is to ensure that participants are appropriately informed about risks and benefits. There is always a disclaimer about being able to withdraw from any study at any time for any reason. If the consent form does not have this in it, do not sign. If that's ever the case, contact the IRB for the university/hospital running the study (but it won't get past IRBs in the first place without it).

If you want to withdraw, contact the researchers. You can tell them whether or not they can use what data they already have. That means you can tell them you don't want them to use any of your data and they have to destroy it.

/I'm a scientist at a university.
Rating: 2 Votes
23 months ago

I'm not sure 99% really have any clue just how powerful and amazing the Apple Watch is going to be, when integrated with this type of capabilities!


Yeah... thinking about... imagine that if we could capture heart rate changes within the hours before a heart attack? Maybe we could learn to alert people that they should take preventative measures?

I think this is a brilliant move on Apple's part and it's great that they are opening it up so it can take on it's own life and advance with the way the research market needs it to.

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Are you that naive in thinking that they haven't thought of this yet?

A team full of medical doctors, PHDs, analysts, engineers, couldn't have thought.. hmm maybe people want to exit something after they signed up.


I thought they covered this two ways... one was that it was opt-in... so you would assume "opt-out" too.. and, Apple made it clear all data collected was not tied to any user.
Rating: 2 Votes

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