Apple releases open source ResearchKit for medical developers

researchkit logo

Apple has announced its ResearchKit software is now available to developers. The software is designed to help medical professionals and the healthcare industry collect data from compatible apps, in a simple, reliable, and accurate way. ResearchKit has the potential to turn the iPhone into a powerful, convenient tool for medical researchers, thanks to its array of sensors, plus the new HealthKit-compatible software and hardware.

According to Apple, 60,000 iPhone users have already participated in research generated using ResearchKit, in fields related to diabetes, heart disease, and breast cancer.

ResearchKit helps the medical community collect important health data


Jeff Williams, Apple’s VP of operations, said:


“We are delighted and encouraged by the response to ResearchKit from the medical and research community and the participants contributing to medical research. Studies that historically attracted a few hundred participants are now attracting participants in the tens of thousands. Medical researchers all over the world are actively exploring how ResearchKit can help them study even more diseases, and we believe the impact on global understanding of health and wellness will be profound.”

ResearchKit is an open source platform and while researchers can build their own modules into it, the software comes with three key components as standard, ready to gather data. These are a consent form which can include video to explain the study, and a quiz to check understanding, plus a survey module which can be instantly shared with researchers. Finally, an Active Tasks module assists with gathering targeted data using the iPhone’s hardware and sensors.

Learn more about ResearchKit’s open source framework here, or see the apps available for it inside the U.S. App Store here.