December Appy Hour Education Recap

Tallie Casucci

Tallie Casucci

On Wednesday, December 16, Appy Hour Education attendees learned about Apple’s ResearchKit. ResearchKit is an open source software framework for researchers to create new apps for their research projects. The apps can reach a broader audience and engage more patients in health studies. Patients can learn about the study, sign consent forms, and participant in the study all on their mobile device.

There are three available components in the framework: informed consent, active tasks, and survey. These components can be tailored to the research team’s needs or other components can be developed and shared through the ResearchKit platform. Active tasks utilize mobile device sensors, such as movement and speech.


A few highlights from the Q&A session:

  • Institutional Review Board process remains the same as before, but the data collection happens on the patients’ mobile device. This change alleviates some headaches from paper-based surveys, low response rates, and mass mailings. Additionally, data collection can be more frequent.
  • The data must be transferred to the university research team (included in the app code). Other researchers use university tools, such as Qualtrics, to secure, collect, and analyze the data.
  • Advertising the research study is similar to other studies. Since it is an app though, the research study can be discovered in the Apple App Store and though Apple promotion venues (talks, announcements, etc.).
  • ResearchKit can connect to HealthKit. HealthKit aggregates all data from health and fitness services and apps.
  • If you create an app using ResearchKit, Apple requires that at least one resulting publication be in an open access journal, the app is freely available, the app does not contain advertising, affiliates do not receive financial gains from the app, and a few other guidelines.


Links for ResearchKit, HealthKit, and Health app:


Tools and Apps for Health Sciences

iTunes U Courses (iPad)

MultiTouch Books (iBooks app)

Read by QxMD: Personalized Medical & Scientific Journal

Eye Decide Point of Care Patient Education for Healthcare Professionals by Orca Health

Essential Anatomy 5

Explain Everything





Save the date for the next Appy Hour event on Wednesday, January 6, 2-3pm, in the Pharmacy Conference room (A-050), University Hospital.