Following on from HealthKit and ResearchKit, Apple has on Thursday launched its third medical framework, CareKit. First announced last month, CareKit allows users to collect medical data that can be shared with physicians and others to provide an accurate log of symptoms and signs to assist with diagnosis and treatment.

Four CareKit apps are available as of today:

Glow Nurture is a pregnancy tracker that allows a pregnant mother to log progress and obtain information on what to expect when. The app is free, but a subscription is required to unlock full functionality.

Glow Baby takes over from Nurture when the baby is born, tracking everything from feed schedules to growth charts, and is likewise a freemium app.

One Drop is a diabetes management app that provides one-touch logging of glucose, food, meds and activity. It also syncs data from Bluetooth-enabled handheld blood glucose monitors and provides reminders when meds are due. It’s a free app, with Apple Watch support.

Start is a depression-management app which provides testing and progress-tracking to help determine the effectiveness of meds. It also provides meds reminders and side-effect logging. The app is free.

Given the private nature of the information recorded in these apps, Apple has put a special emphasis on quality control of CareKit apps in the App Store. Guidelines for app submission include a clause that prohibits developers from sharing user information with third parties for marketing or data-mining purposes, and each app must provide a privacy policy. Apple will also reject any apps that provide users with a diagnoses or treatment advice without FDA approval. But it appears that the burden of user security will still fall on each app developer.

Given that the CareKit modules let developers include goals and options to share progress with others, it’s easy to imagine CareKit being for non-medical uses as well. Fitness gurus or even coaches could use them to track an athlete’s progress over time. So if doctors are slow on the uptake, the platform may very find a home in the fitness section of the App Store instead.


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