03/13/2015

‘ResearchKit’ Taps iPhone Users for Clinical Trials

15:36 minutes

Smartphones are loaded with sensors—accelerometers, gyroscopes, touch screens, microphones, and GPS—which could give doctors a much more detailed snapshot of their patients’ progress. This week, Apple announced a new software platform to tap into that data: ResearchKit.

Apps on the new platform allow iPhone users to enroll in clinical trials on heart health, Parkinson’s, or asthma, and thousands have already signed up. But critics say the smartphone-driven studies have flaws: They’ll only sample a narrow slice of humanity—wealthy, educated iPhone users—and they could generate misleading data.

Arielle Duhaime-Ross, who reported on the announcement for The Verge, and John Wilbanks, who worked on several of the apps, join us to discuss.

Segment Guests

Arielle Duhaime-Ross

Arielle Duhaime-Ross is science reporter for The Verge in New York, New York.

John Wilbanks

John Wilbanks is chief common officer for Sage Bionetworks in Washington, D.C.

Meet the Producer

About Christopher Intagliata

Christopher Intagliata is Science Friday’s senior producer. He once served as a prop in an optical illusion and speaks passable Ira Flatowese.