Apple continues mobile health drive with new CareKit apps

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CareKit is designed to put health in the hands of patients.
CareKit apps emphasize patient-led healthcare.
Photo: Apple

Apple today started rolling out CareKit, its recently-announced open-source mobile software framework for health apps.

Beginning today, CareKit will integrated within four iOS apps, including Glow Nurture, Glow Baby, depression medication-monitoring app Start, and diabetes tracker One Drop. More will follow over time.

Apps with CareKit integration allow patients to manage their own healthcare in collaboration with teams of doctors. This might include sending images of an injury to doctors, exchanging information to work out whether a particular medication is working for the patient, logging symptoms so that they can be sent to doctors or caregivers so that they can be made aware of progress, and more.

There are four modules in all: Care Card (which tracks treatment-related tasks), Symptom and Measurement Tracker (which does what it says on the tin), Insight Dashboard (measuring treatment against symptoms), and Connect (which shares information with your doctor or caregiver.)

Given that this is just the start of the rollout, we’ve yet to see what CareKit can achieve in terms of aiding the transition to patient-led healthcare, but it’s certainly a promising start. According to Engadget,  the open-source framework for CareKit — which is available for developers on GitHub — is relatively easy to bake into iOS apps. Since implementing it takes only a matter of days, it shouldn’t be too long before we start seeing a host of other apps using the framework.

Apple has been pushing to “democratize healthcare” in recent years under the leadership of Tim Cook. Previously it described the push into mobile health (also seen through the launch of HealthKit and ResearchKit) as a “moral obligation” on Apple’s part.