Apple launches CareKit to create health apps

Apple announced on Monday the launch of CareKit, a new developer tool that will make it easier to build healthcare apps for iOS devices.

The open-source platform will be available in April and should work similarly to ResearchKit, but will focus on patient care. With help from top medical institutions including UCSF, Johns Hopkins and Stanford School of Medicine, CareKit can help individuals track treatment progress and communicate it to a physician or family members.

Apple says the platform can be used to monitor symptoms and keep tabs on a medication schedule. Other use cases include sharing photos of a wound or quantifying range of motion by using the iPhone’s accelerometer and gyroscope.

CareKit is “empowering people to take a more active role in their care,” said Apple COO Jeff Williams.

The first app created with CareKit will be tailored for people with Parkinson’s, but Apple says that this tool has a variety of potential applications. They expect that it will be used for post-surgery progress, physical therapy, diabetes management, mental health, pregnancy and more.

Apple also touted the success of ResearchKit, which was introduced last year. It has led to significant developments in epilepsy and asthma research.

“We’re thrilled with the profound impact ResearchKit has already had on the pace and scale of conducting medical research, and have realized that many of the same principles could help with individual care,” said Williams.