The IIU team wanted to gain first hand experience with the newly-released Apple ResearchKit framework – for iOS devices.

Summary + Outcome

The IIU team successfully gained first hand experience with the newly-released Apple ResearchKit framework for iOS devices. Apple’s ResearchKit is an open source software framework for iOS-based apps that lets medical researchers gather robust and meaningful data. ResearchKit makes it easier to enroll participants and conduct studies. Two significant advantages of using ResearchKit (per Apple):

The biggest challenge medical researchers face is recruiting participants. Often just a handful of people are used in a study. But the sheer number of iPhone users around the globe means that apps built on ResearchKit can enroll participants and gather data in bigger numbers than ever. Information can also be collected with far more regularity — daily or even hourly — as people go about their lives. The result is a much larger and more varied study group, more frequent data, and a more accurate representation of the population. ResearchKit makes it easy for individuals to sign up for and participate in a study by using the iPhone that’s already in their pocket. They no longer have to travel to a hospital or facility to complete tasks and fill out questionnaires. Instead, they can perform activities using the advanced sensors in iPhone to generate incredibly precise data wherever they are, providing a source of information that’s more objective than ever before.


IIU Team

Skills + Technology Used

• Mobile Software Development
• Clinical / Public Health Informatics
• User Experience Design
• Xcode IDE (Integrated Development Environment)
• Swift programming language
• ResearchKit Open Source Framework
• HealthKit
• SwiftyJSON


• Apple ResearchKit & CareKit
Android equivalent of Apple’s ResearchKit
Example of an existing ResearchKit mobile app developed by the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to allow patients to participate in a medical research study focused on Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes.
• Download the IIU prototype from AppLab.