Apple to launch research app to allow users to privately submit health data


Technology giant Apple has announced it is launching a research app which can allow users to have the option of privately contributing to health research by sharing data collected from their smartwatch.

Via this new app, Apple is looking to conduct three medical studies, in partnership with academic and research institutions.

The topics will be the long-term effects of sounds on your hearing health; how menstrual cycles can inform the screenings for infertility and osteoporosis; and how activity and movement impacts overall health.

Prior to the Research app, those who wished to take part in health studies through Apple would have to download a specialised app. Now, the Research app provides a single portal for health studies.

Tech Crunch has also reported that Apple has promised it will respect the data privacy of users saying they decide what information they want to share and that it will not have access to any information that directly identifies them.

Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, said the announcement cements the company’s interest in health “by engaging with participants on a larger scale than ever before”.

In September 2017, Apple announced enhanced heart rate monitoring and alerting software would be built into the latest third generation Apple watches.

The studies are:

  • Apple Women’s Health Study: In partnership with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the study will inform screening and risk assessment of conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), infertility, osteoporosis, pregnancy and menopausal transition.
  • Apple Heart and Movement Study: Apple is partnering with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the American Heart Association on a comprehensive study of how heart rate and mobility signals — like walking pace and flights of stairs climbed — relate to hospitalisations, falls, heart health and quality of life in order to promote healthy movement and improved cardiovascular health.
  • Apple Hearing Study: Alongside the University of Michigan, Apple is examining factors that impact hearing health. The Apple Hearing Health Study is the first of its kind to collect data over time in order to understand how everyday sound exposure can impact hearing.

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