Two Drug Firms Experiment With Use of Apple's ResearchKit

Todd R. Weiss | eWeek | July 13, 2015

Apple's ResearchKit aims to help medical researchers build apps that can collect better data from patients as part of medical trials and testing.

Two major pharmaceutical companies are using Apple's ResearchKit open-source project in experiments aimed at helping medical researchers gain more data and fresh insights as they seek ways to battle human diseases and illnesses. Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline confirmed its work in a July 10 tweet, saying the company is "looking @ Apple's #ResearchKit for clinical trials," while Purdue Pharma also said it is exploring early possible uses of ResearchKit in its own drug research, according to a July 12 story by Buzzfeed.

Apple's ResearchKit debuted in March as an open-source software framework designed to help doctors and scientists gather data more frequently and more accurately from participants using iPhone apps. ResearchKit, which will be released in April, is designed to enable researchers to contribute to specific activity modules in the framework, like memory or gait testing. When granted permission by the user, apps can access Health app data, such as weight, blood pressure, glucose levels and asthma inhaler use, which are measured by third-party devices and apps. ResearchKit can also request from a user access to the accelerometer, microphone, gyroscope and GPS sensors in their iPhones to gain insight into a patient's gait, motor impairment, fitness, speech and memory.

All of these features are why ResearchKit has the interest of researchers with medical, pharmaceutical and other health-related companies, who are scrambling to find ways of using the platform in their own work. A source at GlaxoSmithKline said the company is "currently working on integrating [ResearchKit] into clinical trials and planning to start in coming months," according to the article...