Apple's Healthkit Gaining Traction in Healthcare Research Efforts

Apple's Healthkit Gaining Traction in Healthcare Research Efforts

Recent announcements by large health systems show that Apple’s HealthKit is moving into the mainstream of health care. At Stanford, the Healthkit platform enables the integration of the Epic EHR system – including the MyChart patient portal – with diabetic patients’ continuous glucose monitors. Patients and their doctors can monitor blood glucose levels with a visual app on a mobile device.

Researchers at the University of California are using the Healthkit framework to capture and analyze heart rate data from Apple and Android watches. The team is testing an algorithm with the aim of accurately detecting atrial fibrillation before it becomes a serious health event. The study design for this research follows a new paradigm for clinical research being adopted by HealthKit researchers. Any interested individual can download an application from the study’s website and be a participant in the study. This is a major departure from traditional recruitment methods for studies of health information technology, and will help the research community to gain a better understanding of the authentication and informed consent issues I discussed in a post last year on the Apple ResearchKit framework.  This “open” approach to recruitment is certainly worth watching to see if it gains traction.  

The adoption of Healthkit for applications linking patients and their doctors will receive a boost as Apple continues its rollout of support for popular Health Level Seven standards, including the Continuity of Care Document (CCD) exchange standard and the Fast Health Information Resources (FHIR)application programming interface. 

As the electronic capture of patient-generated data and integration with electronic health records grows as a result of Apple’s Healthkit and advances in mobile health technology, are you preparing to take advantage of the research opportunities that this presents?  

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