Apple ResearchKit “versus” Google Baseline Study

Apple ResearchKit “versus” Google Baseline Study: “Not that the two initiatives are overly similar, but both their differences and the similarities that do exist are interesting. In many ways, the headline is just this: Apple and Google, two of the biggest consumer technology companies at the forefront of mobile technology, have both set their sights on tackling the world of medical research and clinical trials which, Apple rightly points out, is currently pretty outdated in its practices.

‘Up until now if someone wanted to do a research study they might put a bunch of flyers up and hope someone comes along and tears off the phone number,’ Mike O’Reilly, Apple’s Vice President of Medical Technology, said in a video at shown at Apple’s event. ‘Methods for conducting medical research haven’t really changed in decades.’

This isn’t news to anyone working in healthcare innovation, where the promise of innovating clinical trials has been hanging in the air for years. But right alongside it has always been the question:

What will it take for mobile-enabled trials to really take off?

Google and Apple are each approaching the problem of medical research more or less the way you would expect them to: Google is launching a single, large and expensive ‘moonshot’ research project, while Apple is creating a framework that could potentially facilitate any research project, and improve its efficiency and the quality of its data.

Both projects are rooted in one of the biggest promises of mobile health: that it’s now possible to collect data on individuals continuously, creating a much more complex and complete picture than if health data is only collected at regular intervals — like office visits. And the two projects have the potential to complement each other: Part of the value of Google’s baseline data will be in comparing the data from those healthy patients to data from patients who aren’t healthy, which is exactly what the five starting projects on ResearchKit are collecting.

Of course, Google is also collecting genetic data in the Baseline project, which is definitely not part of Apple’s current vision. And ResearchKit, as an open-source product, has the potential to be much more far-reaching than a single study from Google, however groundbreaking.” –


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