What it is: ResearchKit is Apple’s free framework for creating apps to capture medical data for studies.
Every critic of the Apple Watch seems to overlook its one killer feature which is real-time health monitoring. Another aspect of real-time health monitoring comes from Apple’s open source software framework called ResearchKit. The main idea behind ResearchKit is to turn make medical studies more comprehensive.
In the old days, medical studies meant asking for volunteers in the area that the medical researcher works. This approach takes time to gather a handful of volunteers to study. So not only is it slow, but it’s also limited to few volunteers. To collect enough data to be statistically meaningful, medical researchers need to keep asking for volunteers, which takes time.
ResearchKit makes medical data tracking easier by allowing volunteers to submit their health data from all over the world through their Apple Watch. Not only does this give medical researchers more volunteers in a far shorter amount of time, but it also gives them volunteers from a wider cross section of the world’s population. Instead of just getting volunteers from a local area, medical researchers can now get volunteers from other countries living in different environments, eating different foods, and living in different cultures. Such a wealth of data in a short amount of time can speed up and identify trends in medical data far faster than current methods could ever do.
Initially ResearchKit was adopted by a handful of medical institutions in the United States. Now ResearchKit has been adopted by Stanford University and Oxford University in Cambridge to open up ResearchKit’s potential to people in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong. As time goes on, you can expect ResearchKit to expand to most of the English-speaking countries and then the rest of Europe and Asia.
Real-time health monitoring is the real purpose of wearable computers that mobile computers (smartphones and tablets) can’t duplicate easily, just as PCs can’t duplicate the many advantages of smartphones and tablets. When ResearchKit gets more popular, it will help save more lives. Maybe even one day the data collected by ResearchKit could be responsible for saving the life of someone you love or even yourself. That’s a possibility that smartphones, tablets, and PCs can never offer.