Bloomberg Business: Thousands Have Already Signed Up for Apple’s ResearchKit

“With ResearchKit, Apple has created a pool of hundreds of millions of iPhone owners worldwide, letting doctors find trial participants at unprecedented rates. Already five academic centers have developed apps that use the iPhone’s accelerometers, gyroscopes and GPS sensors to track the progression of chronic conditions like Parkinson’s disease and asthma.”

It’s a big step for Apple’s newly launched ResearchKit, and possibly an even bigger step for the future of medical research. Do you hear the song in your head? The iPhone’s connected to the (dramatic pause) bluetooth. The bluetooth’s connected to the (dramatic pause) inhaler. The inhaler’s connected to the (dramatic pause) Asthsma App. And that’s-how-research-works!

Indeed, it’s all connected, but that’s not the only hot news out of Bloomberg Business’s recent article. Get this. Within just 24 hours of launching Apple’s ResearchKit, a whopping 11,000 people signed up for a cardiovascular study. Eleven thousand. Why does this have researchers jumping up and down? That’s easy – the iPhone is doing their job for them.

“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.”

This is all well and good, because research is research, and the more we know the more we know, right? Well, yeah, but we also have to sleep with one eye open, cautiously watching out for false data, skewed results, and misleading information. Take this simple device-related stat for example:

“The average iPhone user is more likely to have graduate and doctoral degrees than the average Android user, and has a higher income as well, according to polling company CivicScience Inc. Those sort of demographic differences could skew the findings from a study.”

On the positive side, though, this type of mobile data collection is going to see through some of the lies research subjects tend to tell – like whether or not they actually worked out when they said they did. Phones now act as pedometers and activity trackers so the truth is automatically in the data.

Only time will tell how effective mobile data collection really is, but Direct Care is counting this as a win. After all, it falls right in line with using technology to form better relationships with patients, which in turn enables us to provide better and more proactive care. With a level head, the possibilities are endless.

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