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What is Apple CareKit? Why should I care?

Before the iPhone SE and new, smaller iPad Pro were unveiled, Apple used its latest media event to add yet another string to its rich set of developer tools – an expansion to Apple Health in the form of CareKit.

Last year Apple added ResearchKit to its growing list of health-centric tools for developers and medical institutions, allowing them to gather data on patients and sufferers of diagnosed conditions simply based on the data collected from their iOS devices.

Here’s the latest official Apple video detailing the progression of ResearchKit.

The March 2016 event expanded on ResearchKit with CareKit, which broadens the focus of ResearchKit to allow patients to monitor their own conditions and actively feed data back to medical professionals through Apple Health.

Developers have only just started creating CareKit-powered experiences, but the top medical universities and institutions in the US have already put forward offerings like Texas Medical Center’s postsurgical care app, which lets recently discharged patients log things like pain levels, temperature, range of mobility or medication intake. One Drop will allow diabetes sufferers to chart their pain, hunger and dizziness against their blood glucose levels and EpiWatch can be used to send out a notification to family members or your physician when an epileptic seizure might be about to strike.

CareKit, as with the rest of Apple’s Health tools is also open source, meaning developers will be able plug compatible experiences right into their existing applications, or build new ones, similarly to the examples above. It’s unclear as to just how much of an impact allowing iPhone users to better monitor their own conditions will have on the medical practice as a whole, but Apple, more than any other company, appears to be bridging the gap between consumer electronics and medical research.

Apple Health CareKit apps

The first examples of CareKit-powered experiences within apps.

The updated ResearchKit and CareKit tools will be available to developers from April 2016.

Read next: Apple’s focusing on health more than ever with the arrival of ResearchKit

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