Just as the launch of Apple's iPod and iTunes proved to be the tipping point in digital music, some are speculating that Apple's new platform for medical researchers and its Apple Watch,could do the same for digital, data-driven health care.
"They've got the size, the influence, and they're integrating across consumer digital health to medicine," said Paul Sonnier, a digital health advocate and consultant. "It's all about ecosystem building and bringing in the right partners."
Apple announced Monday a new open-source platform called ResearchKit to help health researchers enlist and monitor research subjects through Apple devices.
"This is a new era," said Yvonne Chan, director of personalized medicine and digital health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. "This is really, truly revolutionizing the way clinical research could be done in the future."
Mount Sinai Hospital is one of five medical facilities that will conduct clinical trials using ResearchKit.
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Mount Sinai researchers plan to use their Asthma Mobile Health study app to recruit a large number of asthma patients, who will then use the app to track their day-to-day symptoms and habits. The hope is that the real-time tracking will help the researchers and the patients understand what triggers attacks, and document what practices can maintain better health.