WebMD’s Pregnancy app and study will use Apple’s ResearchKit

WebMD — a provider of health information services — and Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) have announced a new investigative study designed to improve researchers’ and health care professionals’ understanding of what contributes to healthy pregnancies and positive pregnancy outcomes. 

The Healthy Pregnancy Study will use WebMD’s newly redesigned and enhanced Pregnancy app for iPhone; it’s available at the Apple App Store. Incorporation of the Apple ResearchKit software framework will enable survey participants to eConsent, easily and anonymously answer questions, and share connected device data about their pregnancies with researchers for analysis, says Dr. Eric Topol, director of STSI and editor-in-chief of Medscape. 

Participants in the Healthy Pregnancy Study will be asked to share information about their medication use, vaccinations they may have received during pregnancy, pre-existing conditions, blood pressure and weight change, diagnoses during pregnancy, as well as childbirth location, among other details. They will also be able to share biometric data, including the number of steps and amount of sleep from their connected devices. 

After they give birth, participants will also be asked to share information about additional factors, including provider insights and interventions, and birth size of the baby. In return, the app will give users visualizations of their data trends throughout pregnancy, and later on, as more data is collected, it will allow users to compare their data with that of other pregnant women who share their traits.

According to the CDC, each year in the United States, 65,000 women have severe pregnancy complications. Despite medical advances, the rate of pregnancy-related deaths in the United States has increased over the past 25 years,1 with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and obesity making women more likely to have pregnancy complications.

ResearchKit turns an iPhone 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.