The Definitive Blog

Apple CareKit Bringing Providers into Health App Fold

The recent launch of Apple’s new CareKit software development kit has brought a simplified, open source framework to the health app space, building a bridge for more healthcare providers to wander into the realm of health app development.

CareKit offers app developers four open source modules centered on helping end-users (patients) adhere to care tasks, monitor treatment results, visualize progress, and share data with caregivers.

Several healthcare startups were quick to jump into the CareKit development game. Glow’s Nurture and Baby apps offer pregnancy and child development tracking tools. Iodine Inc.’s Start app helps patients track depression medication outcomes. Informed Data Systems Inc.’s One Drop app offers patients diabetes management solutions.

In light of the diversity of these initial CareKit use-case scenarios, healthcare providers are starting to hone in on the technology’s potential to help the industry pivot away from its historical reliance on episodic acute care in favor of integrated patient engagement beyond the walls of institutionalized care.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Los Angeles, CA) recently made headlines when it partnered with HomeHero to use the firm’s CareKit app to help patients transition more smoothly to home settings post-discharge. The health system’s Safe Transition Home program extends non-medical caregiver services and HomeHero’s digital tools to patients, helping to keep patients, home care aides, clinical practitioners, and family caregivers on the same page in the hopes of reducing hospital readmissions.

Other healthcare providers are rumored to be eyeing the CareKit app development space, as well. According to MobiHealthNews, “Four developers connected to hospitals were also given early access to the [CareKit] framework. They will be coming out with their apps in the near future. Beth Israel Deaconess is working on an app for chronic condition management, the University of Rochester is developing a Parkinson’s tool, Texas Medical Center is developing care coordination tools, and Cleveland Clinic is working on a CareKit app for asthma and COPD patients.”

Given favorable industry response to the new framework thus far, it’s safe to say we can anticipate seeing more healthcare organizations jump on the CareKit bandwagon as additional providers seek to leverage the new platform to advance care outcomes using the new mHealth technology. That particular mobile health potential coupled with Apple iOS 10’s ability to store and transmit mobile EHR data is literally putting healthcare power directly in the hands of patients, which just might make Apple one of healthcare’s greatest allies and/or most formidable opponents.

Definitive Healthcare has the most up-to-date, comprehensive and integrated data on hospitals, physicians and other healthcare providers. Definitive tracks dozens of technology modules and their vendors, including mobile applications.

July 5, 2016