The American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA) and IBM have introduced the SleepHealth app designed for iPhone and Apple Watch and the patient-driven SleepHealth Mobile Study to help identify connections between sleep habits and health outcomes.
The SleepHealth study uses the open source ResearchKit framework designed by Apple to enable participants to complete tasks and submit surveys right from the SleepHealth app. SleepHealth is the first ResearchKit study to run on the Watson Health Cloud.
ResearchKit turns the iPhone and HealthKit into powerful medical research tools. The software framework can pull data from the Apple Watch and the Health app on iOS. Apps based on this framework will be able to provide researchers with data as they monitor asthma conditions, assess Parkinson symptoms and investigate diabetes. Participation by iOS device owners will be optional, and data will be stored and transmitted securely. Partners in the ResearchKit program include Mount Sinai Hospital, Standford University and other major medical research hospitals and universities.
IBM's Watson Health Cloud pulls in and analyzes massive amounts of real-time data provided by personal electronic devices, such as fitness trackers, connected medical devices, implantables and other sensors. It provides open data storage for health information logged by iOS device owners using HealthKit or taking part in ResearchKit studies.
In concert with researchers, physicians and patient advocates in the US, the SleepHealth study will explore the connections between sleep quality and daytime activities, alertness, productivity, general health and medical conditions. App users will have the opportunity to help shape the study by contributing ideas for research topics, survey questions, engagement activities and messaging. Data contributed by participants will be stored on the Watson Health Cloud, where researchers will conduct extensive analysis to uncover patterns and connections in the data.
The SleepHealth app makes use of many Apple Watch sensors — such as the accelerometer, which detects movements, and the gyroscope, which determines orientation in space — to measure and record movements such as shifting positions during sleep. It also uses Apple Watch's heart rate monitor to detect sleep.
Some of the app's features, such as the Personal Sleep Concierge and the Nap Tracker, were designed specifically with Apple Watch in mind to help instill good sleep habits. With iOS 9.3, SleepHealth will be the first ResearchKit app to leverage Apple's new Night Shift feature that reduces light exposure before sleep. The SleepHealth app is available to anyone in the U.S. as a free download from the App Store.