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July 3, 2017

Apple announces additions to Research- and CareKit

Apple has presented several new additions to their CareKit, HealthKit and ResearchKit. These updates include integration with cloud-based platforms and making CareKit more accessible to non-developers.

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ICT&health reported several weeks ago that Apple is becoming a true contender in the mobile healthcare game. During WWDC 2017, the company did not only announce updates for its Apple Watch, it also added upgrades to Apple CareKit and ReseachKit. The presentations in which the new updates are announced, are now available on Apple’s website.

Easier to create apps

CareKit is an opensource-framework, which makes it possible for users to develop apps to track their own health. However, it came to Apple’s attention that academics and clinicians without app development experience were having trouble understanding the full capabilities of the CareKit. To help them out, Apple announced a new prototype tool, which should make it easier to create a nonfunctional mockup app.  

Sharing data through cloud-connectivity 

CareKit has already been used in the development of several apps. One of these is Caremap, a pediatric care app which provides families, providers, and caregivers a way to manage their patients/children remotely. Families can track health and behavioural data such as exercise, mood, pain and sleep, and add custom metrics of their choice. Families can also view the data in graphs to see trends and patterns.

However, care teams would have to share the data manually. Not the easiest or most convenient way to update each other. New tool CareKit Bridge API should speed up the process, by making it easier for developers to integrate CareKit with cloud-based platforms. It enables data syncing by making CareKit integrate seamlessly with backend solutions. 

ResearchKit tasks updated

Apple CareKit isn’t the only one who gets to enjoy some new updates. ResearchKit is especially designed to create apps for medical research. Some tests available on ResearchKit have been updated, like its Tone Audiometry task, which makes it possible to test the hearing of users.

Apple also added a mental processing test (Stroop Test) and a neuropsychological test of visual attention and task switching (the Trail Making Test). Lastly, the company announced that it is now possible to add instructional videos into ResearchKit apps. A lot of the updates were (partially) created by the community surrounding ResearchKit. 

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