Apple has launched its latest project, Carekit, which is a software framework that will work in conjunction with certain health apps. Currently, there are only 4 apps that are using this software, but this number is expected to grow. The apps target various medical issues including diabetes, depression, and pregnancy.
With Carekit, users are able to input data into the supported apps, and that data can be sent along to their doctors. Doctors can use this information to track progress or suggest a change in treatment. While the information will help doctors understand their patients better, the apps also allow the patients themselves to understand their symptoms and check for progress or regression. For example, the app Start is used for monitoring depression. The app can help users track how they are feeling to see if the medication they are using is actually working.
The app also shows common side effects associated with various antidepressants, which can help patients to understand if what they are experiencing is normal. Thomas Goetz, co-founder of Iodine, spoke to TechCrunch, saying “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.” If a user, for example, is experiencing side effects that aren’t listed on Start, and still is recording that he or she feels depressed, this would be an indicator that the medication prescribed is not working.
There is a set of two apps from the company Glow that involve pregnancy tracking and tracking newborn babies during their first year; Glow Nurture and Glow Baby respectively. Users can input information about how they are feeling, as well as symptoms that their newborn baby might be experiencing. This information can easily be sent to their doctor, partner, or caregiver. Before Carekit these apps had this functionality, but it was a much more involved process of inputting information and emailing to requested individuals. Now, everything can easily be sent as a PDF with just one tap.
Finally, the app One Drop helps users with diabetes to monitor and track their symptoms. Users can even share their data with other diabetes patients, in addition to sending their data to their doctor. While this concept could have been developed without the use of Carekit, CEO of One Drop Jeff Dachis said “CareKit provided a simple and elegant framework with which to work.”
If other health app developers wish to use the Carekit software, it is available on GitHub as open-source framework.
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