Quick, can you name the game changing product that Apple just released? If you said the Apple Watch, that is incorrect. No, the ground breaking product is a software toolkit called ResearchKit.
ResearchKit is an open source software toolkit that allows researchers to write apps for smartphones to do medical studies. Ground not exactly breaking under you? Let us explain...
The traditional way of doing medical studies is dreadfully inefficient. You take out ads looking for people with asthma. You need to reach thousands of people in the hope you will get 100 for your study. Then you need to interview them, meet with them, capture their data - it is just a horribly inefficient system.
The Apple ResearchKit completely changes the way medical studies are done. Since the studies are done using an app, it is much easier to find people for the study and the fact that it is all done electronically means it is easy for people to take part in the study. As reported in Yahoo Tech,
Using traditional recruitment techniques, “you’re lucky if you get 300 or 500 over the course of a year,” Schadt told me. “If you’re superlucky, over many years, you’ll get a thousand enrolled in a study — and they’ll be geographically limited.”
But he got 7,500 asthma sufferers enrolled in his study within the first month [using ResearchKit]. “That’s astonishing — it just blew us away.”
Re-read those numbers above. It used to take 1 year to get 300-500 people into an Asthma study. Using ResearchKit they got 7,500 in one month. This can completely change the progress of medical research and what is possible. In addition, things should get better as more trackers and health sensors are made to work with the ResearchKit.
There is no question that Apple has created a product that can help us Feel Good.
At this point you are probably thinking this is all some ploy for Apple to get their hands on all of our personal data, or maybe sell more iPhones. Here is the amazing part - Apple never sees any of the data collected for the medical studies. In addition, the entire ResearchKit toolkit is open source, so it can work with phones and devices from any vendor.
Yes, Apple is actually Doing Good - just to help the medical community. So let's applaud Apple for pulling off a Doing Good and Feeling Good product!
To learn more about how ResearchKit is changing the way medical studies are being done, please read this excellent piece by David Pogue at Yahoo Tech.