Apple announced the release of Carekit, mobile software framework that lets developers create iPhone apps that people can use to easily monitor and manage their own medical conditions and share information with their doctors.
While there are umpteen number of health-related apps on the market, Apple wanted a platform designed to help developers improve personal health management apps.
Beginning today, the platform will integrate with four iPhone health apps developed by other companies. One Drop is a diabetes tracker that allows users log meals and other daily activities, offer insulin shot reminders and study parallel changes in their glucose levels. Glow Nurture allows pregnant women track their health and daily activities throughout their pregnancy. Glow Baby helps new parents keep a track on things like feedings, diaper changes and health indications in their baby's first year. Start is an app for monitoring new antidepressant medication.
Several other organizations, including the University of Rochester and hospitals at the Texas Medical Center, are working on CareKit apps for people who have gone through heart or lung operations and patients with Parkinson’s disease. It works similar to the tech giants Researchkit, a platform allowing developers to pull in huge amounts of robust and meaningful data over iOS devices. The latest open software platform combines with health apps to help people manage treatment and can also be used by doctors to monitor progress.
Iodine co-founder Thomas Goetz used the platform in the latest version of its Start app. Besides providing information about side-effects antidepressant drugs, the app asks patients to log their symptoms and answer a few questions to make them understand how their medication should work as they continue to take it. Start uses a feature that enables patients to send reports to their doctors, who can tweak their instructions for medication, diet or exercise based on the report.
The Cupertino, California company says it isn’t generating any revenue directly from the software framework. However, the move signals the company’s toehold in the growing health-tech market as opposed to simple health tracking or scientific research. The company could benefit if the program gains wide adoption, there by turning the iPhone into an even more useful tool for millions of people with medical issues.
The open software platform is quite new and currently, only four apps are using it but it will be interesting to see what other developers come up with now that the platform is available to use.