Apple starts deploying Carekit for health apps

Apple begins rolling out Carekit, its mobile software framework for health apps, today.

Apple announced the open-source software development platform last month with the aim to make it easier for developers to build health apps on iOS devices.

Starting today, Carekit will integrate with four iPhone apps, including two of the Glow family of apps Glow Nurture and Glow Baby; Start, an app for monitoring depression medication; and One Drop, a diabetes tracker.

unnamedCarekit works in a similar way to Apple’s Researchkit, a tool enabling developers to pull in large amounts of research data over iOS devices. The Carekit platform integrates with health apps to help patients manage treatment and can also be used to help doctors monitor progress.

Developers choose from a variety of integrations from monitoring symptoms, sending images of a wound, or keeping an eye on a medication schedule.

Carekit can help doctors keep tabs on patients but it also empowers the patient to watch their own progress over time and take action.

Iodine co-founder Thomas Goetz demonstrated how this might work on his Start app with a built-in drug adherence feedback loop. The adherence tool uses Carekit to nudge patients dealing with depression with information to help them understand how their medication should work as they continue taking it.

“Depression and pain medications don’t work one out of three times and using carekit can help determine if the medicine will work for you,” Goetz told TechCrunch.

Glow’s Nurture and Baby apps integrate Carekit to send a PDF of progress to your doctor, partner or other caregivers. If your baby has had a low fever and a rash for a few days and you’ve been logging those symptoms on Glow Baby, the app uses Carekit to send that information to your physician with just a tap.

The apps could already send info to your care provider but Glow’s Jennifer Tye believes it’s now easier to do it with just one tap to send a PDF instead of clicking through, emailing and sending. It might not seem like much, but it’s probably something to sleep-deprived parents with a new baby.

Apple’s ResearchKit has led to some significant gains in epilepsy and asthma research and Carekit has the same opportunity to make a difference in health care with more than one billion iPhones in people’s pockets.

The framework is pretty new and only four apps are using it at the moment but it will be interesting to see what other developers come up with now that Carekit is available to use.