ResearchKit: pros and cons for research via iPhone

0

rwueaqvv7rxqvzdq8dgp

Within a day, already more than 11,000 people signed up to participate in the iPhone-research project on cardiovascular state of Stanford University. Normally it takes a year to the researchers achieve such numbers.

On Monday, Apple took almost 15 minutes to present the software environment ResearchKit for medical and health research. On Tuesday there were initial results and cause for celebration at the participating universities and medical institutions.

As Bloomberg reports that researchers at Stanford University on Tuesday morning could see 11,000 subscribers to its announced just the day before project.

“In order to bring 10,000 people to attend a medical research project, it usually takes a year and requires 50 medical institutions across the country,” said Alan Yeung, Director of the Cardiovascular Division.

The studies range from asthma about breast cancer to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s. Currently required for this purpose apps are only in the US app store for free and limited to those interested in the US.

The study of asthma Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and LifeMap Solutions has seen more than 2,500 people on Tuesday morning. These participants will need to enter their data manually is currently still in the app. At an add-on for regular inhalers that sends data to the iPhone via Bluetooth but worked.

Parkinson’s App counted 5,589 participants. The development cost of this app was Todd Sherer, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation, any details. A five-year experiment with around 800 members in the past but cost about 60 million US dollars. Sherer sees these new apps not as a substitute of traditional research projects, but rather as an additional resource.

The way in relatively few steps to enable millions of iPhone users to participate in such studies, but also has a dark side.

In addition to possibly erroneous data from participants who do not actually suffer from the disease under study, the question arises about the privacy. Apple had during the presentation of large pointed out that the company from Cupertino do not have access to the data.

Compared to The Verge said Nir Eyal, employees of Harvard University, that this depends largely on the quality of anonymization of the data transmitted.

To reduce the re-identification of participants, such as Stanford and Oxford University are working with Sage Bionetworks. Sage receives the data sent by a participant iPhone, and reviewed and removed if necessary information to draw conclusions about a participant may allow. Only then get the universities the data. But this process is not completely secure.

It would be possible, furthermore, that for example the pharmaceutical industry could publish their own ResearchKit apps in the App Store. The Verge had in this regard in demand at Apple, but still get no response.

ResearchKit to Apple’s developers are available until next month. It is therefore possible that Apple still makes changes to the software environment or indicate any concrete details about the publication of such research apps in the App Store.

Follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our Facebook Page, find us on LinkedIn, circle us on Google+