Apple debuts CareKit framework for creation of health apps

Building on the success of its ResearchKit platform, Apple is launching a framework that will allow hospitals, health systems and developers to build apps to better manage patients' health.

CareKit, announced during an Apple town hall event Monday, is advancing the foundation ResearchKit laid in transforming healthcare, Apple COO Jeff Williams said at the live event.

"It's no longer about research, but using apps to learn more about health. With ResearchKit, the simple goal was to improve medical research. The same tools can be used to help people with their healthcare," he said.

ResearchKit, which launched a year ago this month, ignited research study participation immediately, with thousands signing up for studies nationwide within 24 hours of the announcement.

CareKit, which is open source, will be used by John Hopkins Medicine, Emory Healthcare, University of Rochester Medical Center, Stanford Medicine and the University of California, San Francisco to help patients with Parkinson's monitor and track symptoms. 

In addition, Texas Medical Center has created a CareKit app, called Care Card, which will replace the traditional paper-based discharge instructions for post-surgical patients. The app provides users a list of daily tasks to undertake, and can track symptoms from temperature to mobility range, Williams said.

More apps are set to be released on the platform, Williams said, adding that the "possibilities are limitless." CareKit will be available in April.

"ResearchKit is having a profound impact on medical research. We hope CareKit will have the same impact in health. We can't wait to see what a great apps get created," Williams said.

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