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By Stephanie Musal • December 14, 2016

What ResearchKit Means to Researchers

Apple’s ResearchKit was released in 2015 and has helped a number of organizations improve their clinical trial efforts. Despite the obvious benefits, adoption has been slow for much of the industry. Healthcare has historically been slow to introduce new procedures, with clinical trials proving to be no different.

Why Apple Created ResearchKit

Recognizing the problems associated with the existing clinical trial system, Apple released ResearchKit in April of 2015. The framework is designed to vastly simplify the process of creating and running clinical trials. By moving the process of gathering data into the mobile realm, ResearchKit aims to simplify large-scale data collection, while increasing the security and accuracy of the results collected.

By putting surveys on mobile devices, Apple has also provided the medical community with the ability to collect detailed CloudMine’s ResearchKit demo application, AsthmaHealth (Swift and Obj-C) information about a patient's individual care, which was previously difficult or often impossible to gather. For instance, ResearchKit's 'tap rhythm' function allows researchers to study and record the effects of arthritis with data that previously would have been cost prohibitive to collect.

From a pharmaceutical perspective, the ability to record and analyze more detailed information, such as mood, heart rate, or sleep cycles, may provide insight into how well a particular drug is suited for different groups of patients. The more data points an organization can collect and analyze, the better they can understand the benefits and side-effects of specific medications, which leads to direct advantages for patients down the line.

Download ResearchKit Whitepaper


Limitations with ResearchKit

Although there are multiple advantages to using ResearchKit in a modern clinical trial applications, many research organizations are still stumbling when it comes to storage of the collected data in a compliant manner, and consumption of the data for the purposes of analysis and reporting. ResearchKit does not support these functions out of the box, and in most cases requires the integration of other third party systems in order to truly be beneficial.

Many developers report that the ResearchKit framework itself is dense, leading to a high initial barrier to entry. Combined with the already competing priorities for developers in many research-based teams and organizations, this initial obstacle can serve as a nonstarter for HCOs as they begin recruiting talent and building teams in-house or re-purposing existing iOS developers. 

Another significant factor in the growth of the ResearchKit ecosystem is the portability of the framework to web, Android, and other platforms. In addition to creating multiple applications in different languages, developers hoping to use data gathered with ResearchKit across multiple frameworks will have to deal with a certain degree of 'data doctoring' to ensure proper use.

How to Easily Build on ResearchKit

CloudMine provides the backend for Apple ResearchKit’s front end. By combining ResearchKit with CloudMine’s Connected Health Cloud, it enables organizations to more effectively collect and consume data, as well as engage survey respondents. The partnership allows clinical studies to launch 50-70% faster than trial models. CloudMine’s logic engine also allows for simple data orchestration and normalization, enabling a quicker ROI in terms of data analysis and insights.

CloudMine's Connected Health Cloud (CHC), developed to be used in enterprise healthcare and pharmaceutical applications, is a great fit for research organizations looking to create an end-to-end clinical trial solution. The CHC framework is a scalable, secure, cost-effective cloud-based platform that allows developers to quickly spin up a backend architecture to support their front-end ResearchKit application. By exposing all functionality through a single API, and offering SDKs for multiple environments/languages/platforms, the CHC also makes app creation extremely easy for smaller teams of developers.

In addition to a robust data storage and security foundation, CloudMine offers developers pre-built micro-services that simplify and expedite the development process. Identity management, custom business logic hosting, PII data storage, and push notification management are just a few of the micro-services that CloudMine offers on its CHC platform out of the box, allowing developers to implement complex functions like reactive push notification triggers with relative ease.

CloudMine’s ResearchKit demo application, AsthmaHealth (Swift and Obj-C), is publicly available for customers to review and clone on GitHub is publicly available for customers to review and clone on GitHub, Download Here.

If you’re interested in reading more about ResearchKit, download our full whitepaper for free here.

Download ResearchKit Whitepaper