Why We Shouldn’t Call Apple ResearchKit and CareKit ‘Platforms’

Ryan Rossier | HIT Consultant | October 17, 2016

It’s no secret that getting people to engage in their health is one of our generation’s biggest challenges. Digital health engagement, especially, is often discussed as “a huge opportunity,” but the reality is that while people are interested in their health, it’s still incredibly difficult to get them to use digital tools consistently. Enacting behavior change is still a mostly elusive process.

The potential for digital health tools comes from the fact that mobile devices and smartphones have changed functional behaviors for people all over the world. At this point, mobile device use is as ingrained in our lives as eating and sleeping. Cell phone use has become what researchers call a “functional behavior,” and not an insignificant percentage of those smartphones are iPhones. As the second largest provider of mobile devices, there are literally hundreds of millions of iPhones in use, all around the world.

With that as their base line, Apple might be our best hope for finding digital health solutions that change behaviors. They have a massive data collection and engagement machine in the hands of millions of people. They can – and are trying to – create a health ecosystem around this device that seamlessly and conveniently connects people to their health. And if you’ve heard of, or used, HealthKit, ResearchKit, or CareKit, you’ve seen the beginnings of Apple’s plans...