THE FUTURE

Most people carry a smart phone such as an iPhone or an Android phone.

This amazing technology has revolutionised how we communicate. 

Many different apps keep phone owners in touch with friends and family, read blogs like this and keep informed about what is happening in the world. 

And now there are apps focused on health care. 

Earlier this year Apple announced a way for app developers to create software for the iPhone and Apple Watch that can track medicine intake, monitor ongoing medical conditions, track exercise and share data with health professionals. 

And now those apps are beginning to trickle onto the App Store.

Inside each Apple Watch and iPhone are sensors such as accelerometers and gyroscopes. 

These sensors can monitor your patient’s activities. 

Data can be shared between multiple apps or with relatives and other health professionals.

The research benefits will be huge as the data gained from sharing data from connected apps are used from more than one billion iPhones to speed up the development of medical treatments.

   

Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams is quoted as saying 

“We’re thrilled with the profound impact ResearchKit has already had on the pace and scale of conducting medical research, and have realised that many of the same principles could help with individual care. 

We believe that giving individuals the tools to understand what is happening with their health is incredibly powerful, and apps designed using CareKit make this a reality by empowering people to take a more active role in their care.”

CareKit has four parts;

1. Care Card tracks an individual’s care plan and ‘action items’ such as medicine or physical exercise.

2. Symptom and Measurement Tracker records symptoms and temperature measurements.

3. Insight Dashboard combines the data from Care Card and Symptom and Measurement Tracker to work out if treatments are effective, and

4. Connect, for sharing data with doctors and family members.

The first apps developed were for managing diabetes, monitoring during pregnancy, and management of mental health. 

These apps are just the beginning. 

In the works are apps for Parkinson’s patients, post-surgery progress and home health monitoring.

Initially some apps may only be available from the USA App Store. 

EpiWatch is one app that is available in more than the USA App store.

This app, developed by John Hopkins University, can help manage epilepsy by tracking seizures, possible triggers, medications and side effects. 

With this app, family members and care givers can be notified when a seizure is being tracked.

The researchers are investigating whether a future Apple Watch app could potentially detect seizures, estimate their duration and contact care givers.

Here is the explanation about how the app and study works from the iTunes app store.

EpiWatch enables you to take surveys, enter daily journals and participate in other activities so you and Hopkins researchers can better understand your entire experience—your seizures, treatments and medication side effects. The app also includes a medication journal, as well as an interactive game to measure a seizure’s impact on your responsiveness. 

EpiWatch integrates with Health App to augment heart rate, accelerometer and gyroscope data collected by both iPhone and Apple Watch. Johns Hopkins researchers will use this data to measure changes in your heart rate and movement during a seizure. 

EpiWatch is not a seizure detector. You should not rely on EpiWatch to get help for your seizures.

To learn more about CareKit:

Care Kit http://carekit.org 

EpiWatch http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/epiwatch/index.html#.WDv6uXer1Bx

Epiwatch App https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/epiwatch/id1047757228?mt=8

How to join the EpiWatch Study http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/EpiWatch/Epiwatch%20Flyer.pdf