Apple has finally made ResearchKit available to medical researchers around the world, the company announced today. ResearchKit is designed to help doctors, researchers, and scientists develop apps that can gather more data for clinical studies, without patients ever having to physically enter a lab. In a statement, Apple said over 60,000 users have been enrolled in research apps used to study diseases including asthma, breast cancer, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease in the few weeks ResearchKit apps have been available in the App Store.
ResearchKit has been hailed as a game changer by some in the medical and scientific fields, but there are some ethical concerns and privacy issues that may persist for some time. For instance, minors aren't supposed to take part in clinical studies without parental consent, but they can easily lie about their age on an iPhone. While ResearchKit can be a truly powerful tool for doctors and researchers around the world, there are some areas where Apple could improve the platform to ensure it protects and benefits everyone.