There’s a quiet revolution going on in medical research – courtesy of Apple.
David Pogue, Yahoo Tech:
Apple worked with five medical institutions, associated with places like Harvard, Stanford, and Mount Sinai in New York City, to come up with the first five ResearchKit-based apps. They represent studies of asthma, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, and breast cancer. (You can enroll in the heart, breast cancer, and Parkinson’s studies even if you don’t have those diseases. The researchers will use your data as a control.)
The first time you open a ResearchKit app, you encounter the first huge breakthrough: The sign-in process is electronic. No more researcher sitting across from a table asking you questions and going over paperwork.
Ordinarily, that sort of enrollment process would never fly with the hospitals’ notoriously conservative IRBs — the institutional review boards whose job it is to approve every step of a medical study, making sure it complies with all medical, ethical, and legal concerns.
As with other research involving human subjects, you can opt out of any part of the data collection or the study at any time. You are also asked if you are prepared to share your data with medical researchers at other institutions.
All five institutions’ IRBs approved an electronic consent-granting process within the app. With just this one advancement, the world of medical research has changed forever.