Yesterday was similar to a holiday for many–it was Apple Keynote day. I had no idea that it was happening. I have an iPhone. It works for me. I’m no Apple geek. But, one of my med school buddies was watching it live, saw the announcement about ResearchKit and diabetes, and sent me a link. After reading it initially, my interest peaked. The iPhone would be an incredible vehicle to gather data on a HUGE scale, think about their 700 million users, but I needed more information.
Basically, Apple has partnered with a few prestigious research organizations, Massachusetts General, Mount Sinai, Stanford, etc., allowing them to gather data on very large populations of people with diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and Parkinson’s. Here is the official verbage from the app GlucoSuccess by Massachusett’s General Hospital:
GlucoSuccess is powered by Apple’s new ResearchKit, allowing you to participate in a medical research study focused on Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes. Our study team at Massachusetts General Hospital hopes that this app will not only further research into Diabetes, but also help you gain insight into how your behaviors affect your health.
You can actually download the app. It’s ready in the app store. Just click the image above if you want to check it out.
Here are my quick, initial thoughts on the app (I’ve had it on my phone for 10 minutes):
It’s a type 2 diabetes lifestyle app.
If you didn’t know this already, your iPhone tracks how much you move, each moment. They are combining that information, with blood sugars, and your diet, to eventually paint a picture of lifestyle habits that are conducive to beneficial type 2 diabetes management.
You manually insert your blood sugars.
It’s not automatic yet but it will be soon. I estimate that most meters will have a capability to upload your readings into an app within the next few years. Many already can. Without it being automatic, how can they predict accuracy?
You will use the “Lose It” app to track dietary choices.
The app is specially designed to ask you questions that are relevant to the study. It’s another thing to do.
It will be time consuming, but isn’t it better than playing Candy Crush?
Yep, it’s not real convenient yet. Would this be incredibly helpful for the research/medicine world? Sure. Is this research trial setup perfect? No. Is it a start? Yes. I see this move by Apple the first step in a long investment into health tracking. This is only the beginning.