Apple hires HealthKit and ResearchKit pioneer

Dr. Ricky Bloomfield, a doctor on the forefront of implementing both Apple HealthKit and Apple ResearchKit in his position as director of Mobile Strategy at Duke University, will leave Duke to take a position on Apple's health team. A colleague of Bloomfield's broke the news on Twitter today and Apple confirmed the news.

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Bloomfield was at Duke in 2014 when Apple announced Apple Health and Apple HealthKit. Duke became one of the first hospitals to integrate with Apple HealthKit via Epic, and to use the platform to incorporate patient-generated health data into its EHR.  Since June 1, Apple has hired Dr. Rajiv B. Kumar, a pediatric endocrinologist from Stanford University with experience implementing Apple's HealthKit to help patients manage their diabetes; Dr. Stephen Friend, president and co-founder of Sage Bionetworks which built the data infrastructure for a number of ResearchKit apps; and Dr. Mike Evans, a Toronto doctor who boasts 70,000 followers on his medical-themed YouTube channel.

ResearchKit turnsiPhone into a tool for medical research by helping doctors, scientists and other researchers gather data more frequently and more accurately from participants anywhere in the world using iPhone apps. Participants enrolled in these app-based studies can review an interactive informed consent process, easily complete active tasks or submit survey responses, and choose how their health data is shared with researchers, making contributions to medical research easier than ever.

Apple has made ResearchKit “open source,” which means a developer can quickly design a research study for iPhone. Developers can also build on the available software code and contribute their tasks back to the community to help other researchers do more with the framework. Using a new module just released to the open source community, researchers can now incorporate genetic data into their studies in a seamless, simple and low cost way. 

Apple’s Health app on iOS devices gathers the information you choose from your various health apps and fitness devices, and provides you with a current overview in one place. It offers developers the ability for health and fitness apps to communicate with each other. With your permission, each app can use specific information from other apps to provide a more comprehensive way to manage your health and fitness. For example, the Nike+ apps using NikeFuel will be able to pull in other key Healthmetrics such as sleep and nutrition to build a custom user profile and improve athletic performance.

HealthKit is the accompanying developer application programming interface (API) included in the iOS SDK (Software Development Kit) for the Mac. It is used by software developers to design applications that have extensibility and that can interact with the Health application on iOS.