Apple’s researchkit poised to become actually medically useful

In March 2015, Apple promised to change the way medical research could be done. It launched ResearchKit, which could turn millions of iPhones around the world into a “powerful tool for medical research,” the company said at the time. Since then, ResearchKit — software that gives would-be app developers a library of coding to create health apps on the iPhone and Apple Watch — has spawned a number of studies: One team has used it to create an app to track Parkinson’s symptoms; another is trying out a screening protocol for autism. A third helps people inventory the moles on their skin and evaluate how they have changed over time. (Sheridan, 5/26)

California Healthline: Molina Healthcare, A top Obamacare insurer, investigates breach of patients’ data
Molina Healthcare, a major insurer in Medicaid and state exchanges across the country, has shut down its online patient portal as it investigates a potential data breach that may have exposed sensitive medical information. The company said Friday that it closed the online portal for medical claims and other customer information while it examined a “security vulnerability.” It’s not clear how many patient records might have been exposed and for how long. The company has more than 4.8 million customers in 12 states and Puerto Rico. (Terhune, 5/26)

Meanwhile, not everything is moving toward the technology of the future —

NPR: In the age of digital medicine, the humble reflex hammer hangs on
Receiving a diagnosis in 2017 — at least one made at a medical center outfitted with the latest clinical gadgetry — might include a scan that divides your body into a bread loaf of high-resolution digital slices. Your DNA might be fed through a gene sequencer that spits out your mortal code in a matter of hours. Even your smartphone might soon be used to uncover health problems. Yet nearly 130 years since its inception — after decades of science has mapped out our neuronal pathways — a simple knob of rubber with a metal handle remains one of medicine’s most essential tools. I’m referring to the cheap, portable, easy-to-use reflex hammer. (Stetka, 5/28)

Meanwhile, not everything is moving toward the technology of the future —

NPR: In the age of digital medicine, the humble reflex hammer hangs on
Receiving a diagnosis in 2017 — at least one made at a medical center outfitted with the latest clinical gadgetry — might include a scan that divides your body into a bread loaf of high-resolution digital slices. Your DNA might be fed through a gene sequencer that spits out your mortal code in a matter of hours. Even your smartphone might soon be used to uncover health problems. Yet nearly 130 years since its inception — after decades of science has mapped out our neuronal pathways — a simple knob of rubber with a metal handle remains one of medicine’s most essential tools. I’m referring to the cheap, portable, easy-to-use reflex hammer. (Stetka, 5/28)

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