Apple Research Kit proven effective in asthma study

A study by researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, has highlighted the effectiveness of Apple’s Research Kit – software that helps medical researchers gather data.

The Asthma Mobile Health study launched in 2015, at the same time as Research Kit’s introduction, and used an app through which users could fill in surveys regarding their health.

Of the 50,000 people who downloaded the app, approximately 7,600 users allowed their data to be collected and analysed by the study’s researchers. Those involved in the study filled in surveys about their asthma and the app regarded external factors such as air quality and location. For example, during a wildfire outbreak in Washington State, the researchers were able to correlate this with users’ increased asthma symptoms.

The study went on to analyse 2,300 user data, from those who had filled in multiple surveys about their condition. The team correlated the data with existing patient asthma studies and noted the similarities between their own results and those of other studies.

Due to a high adoption of smartphones around the world, the researchers state that Apple Research Kit is suitable for “studies of short duration that require rapid enrolment across diverse geographical locations, frequent data collection, and real-time feedback to participants.”

Yvonne Chan, director of Digital Health and Personalised Medicine for Genomics and Multiscale Biology at Mount Sinai said: “Our study demonstrates the power of mobile health tools to scale and accelerate clinical research so that we can derive the evidence needed to inform clinical practice and improve patient care.”

Eric Schadt, professor of Genomics at the Icahn School of Medicine and Founding director of the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology states: “We now have the ability to capture rich research data from thousands of individuals to better characterise ‘real world’ patterns of disease, wellness, and behaviour. This approach provides a more comprehensive and accurate view of our patients that was not feasible in the past due to logistical limitations and prohibitive costs.”



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