Apple Inc is enabling app developers access to CareKit, a platform that Apple built to allow medical researchers to develop health apps more easily. The company has made CareKit available on GitHub, an online community to post software projects and software libraries, on 21st April, 2016.
CareKit, along with the previously released Healthkit and Researchkit, are Apple’s frameworks for healthcare app development. They are designed to enable developers to develop apps that enable users to better organize their health.
Apple said in a press release that apps developed through Carekit will give users a better access to their health information including symptoms, prescription history, possible treatments, and will also allow them to share this information with their healthcare professional through the app.
Apple has released four apps on their app store that were developed through Carekit. These apps are:
Start is an app that helps patients combat depression. The app brings daily tips to fight depression and also helps plan doctor appointments. It also keeps track of user’s mood history, pill history and gives reminder when it is time to take medication. It also creates personalized progress reports on user’s depression levels to help users better understand if their medication is effectively working or not, and can discuss these reports to get a better assessment from their doctor.
Up to 20 million Americans are diagnosed with depression and 90% of the time patients don’t get the right follow-up care and 60% of the people stop taking their medication due to side effects. This app will help users in getting a more accurate assessment about their condition and give them a more effective prescription.
This app is built to make it easier for parents to manage their newborn baby’s health. It helps tracking diaper changes, food schedules and sleep timings. It also provides detailed charts that track babies’ growth. It also provides practical daily tips catered to each baby’s personal needs.
This app is useful for busy parents who need to manage their baby’s health and proves especially handy for first time parents.
This app is meant for pregnant women. It has a due date calculator that calculates due dates and provides daily information about their developing baby. It keeps track of users’ pregnancy by creating a daily log. In the log, it asks questions such about diet, sex and exercise to better provide insight about their and their baby’s health. It also helps make doctor’s appointments and gives frequent reminders.
The app is really useful for women who are expecting for the first time and are worried about their unborn child’s health.
One Drop was created by Informed Data Systems. It is a diabetes management application. Its tagline “Navigating Diabetes Together” says it all. It has a “simple logging” feature that provides information about glucose levels via Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM), food calories, medication and exercises. It syncs data from other health apps via Apple Health. It enables note taking, picture sharing, daily tips and setting daily goals. It allows tracking daily progress and setting goals via Apple Carekit.
This app is extremely useful for diabetes patients as it gives them detailed food information using barcodes and has the world’s largest food database that gives details about foods that are healthy and prevents temptations by giving a highly accurate calorie count.
Convenience For Developers
This move will make it extremely easy for developers to make efficient, interesting and reliable health apps. The app developers praised Apple’s move as it promotes better information accessibility. The CEO of One Drop Jeff Dachis said, “For folks who do not have the kind of chops that a sophisticated developer has, CareKit gets you pretty far and pretty fast with the basic building blocks it provides.” Dachis further added, “The idea is to get this lightweight framework of modules in the hands of as many people as possible to start building digital and mobile health apps. It’s a great idea.”
Reliability For Patients
Patients that will use these apps will have a more reliable, robust and secure access of their healthcare information. They will be able to track their activity, set reminders, and get more accurate diagnoses and disease management solutions. The most valuable feature of these apps has to be that patients can share data securely with their healthcare professionals.
Apps developed through CareKit allow users to manage and safely share data that would not have been accessible to healthcare professionals otherwise. Jeff Dachis said, “I’m glad to have a doctor review that stuff with me over time, but for the most part I’m in control of my own data and my own information, and I’m able to make better choices because of it.”
Benefit For Doctors
These apps are not only useful for patients but doctors as well. Previously doctors only had limited information available to them. Normally patients scheduled meetings with their doctors once every three to six months, but now patients can securely share health records with their doctors more frequently from the comfort of their home, using smartphones.
This up-to-date information will enable doctors to better assess their patients and give more accurate diagnoses and medications thereby reducing costs and saving time.
Future Of Health Apps
This step has fast tracked the health app development cycle thus saving app developers a lot of time and money. Many other tech companies are developing app frameworks focused solely on health apps.
This is a quickly growing market which has seen growth in excess of $500 million in the last five years alone and is only going to grow exponentially. Many tech companies are looking to capitalize on this growth which will greatly benefit the health industry and all those involved in it.