Apple ResearchKit: UK gets first app on platform, designed to help combat stroke and heart disease

MyHeart Counts app designed to measure heart activity and be the catalyst in one of the largest cardiovascular research trials ever attempted

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The Independent Tech

The first app from Apple’s ambitious ResearchKit scheme in the UK App Store looks to turn your iPhone into a health tracker built to advance the fight against stroke and heart disease.

MyHeart Counts is designed to study the user’s heart activity and offer tips on how to keep your heart healthy based on its findings, while also collating the data for use in a wider study designed to assist in the prevention and treatment of heart disease.

After an initial survey and collection of activity data over a seven day period, the free app uses this information as well as a 6-minute walk test to determine the user’s risk score. Using the tracking data from a compatible iPhone - 5S, 6 or 6 Plus models – or a connected wearable, the app provides health tips while also transmitting your results to researchers at Stamford University to become part of a broader survey.

With a check-up every 3 months for those who have opted in, the MyHeart Counts app is the first software development that has been born out of Apple’s ResearchKit project that was designed to turn millions of consenting iPhone users into medical research volunteers.

"To think that this device that you use to check your mail can be used to battle disease is simply amazing," said Apple's Mike O'Reilly after ResearchKit was unveiled in March.

For those concerned about the security of the collected data, the app’s FAQ is eager to stress that all information gathered in the survey “will go to a secure computer where your name will be removed and replaced with a random code to protect your privacy.”

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