Mar 16, 2017 12:08 PM EDT
iPhone Apps Praised By Doctors For Easy Tracking Of Asthma, Melanoma & Parkinson’s Disease Patients
Majority of us only use our phone's apps for social media. Doctors, however, are using the platform to better track people with asthma, melanoma and Parkinson's disease. The iPhone app, Asthma Health, is among these platforms that prove how helpful technology is to medical research.
Asthma Health (downloaded by 50,000 iPhone owners) is connected with Apple's ResearchKit, an open source framework that assists medical researchers in gathering data for studies. Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai used the Asthma Health app for their Asthma Mobile Health Study to survey asthmatic individuals.
Out of the 50,000 who downloaded the app, around 2,300 answered surveys about their condition's symptoms. Researchers found new information about asthma triggers such as pollen, heat and wildfire outbreaks. The same can be said for melanoma and Parkinson's disease patients.
If this doesn't sound revolutionary to you, think again. Researchers stressed that health surveys and studies "used to be a rigid, stodgy process" but with the iPhone app, the experts were able to reach a more diverse group of asthmatic people than the traditional research method, Mashable reported. In the United States, around 25 million (eight percent of the population) were diagnosed with asthma in 2009, according to AAAAI.
Yvonne Chan, the study's lead researcher and director of digital health and personalized medicine at a Mount Sinai institute, said that the survey based on the Asthma Health app can collect data more regularly and even provide real-time feedback to the participants. Chan stressed that mobile health tools have the capacity to "scale and accelerate" clinical research than before, leading to better patient care.
This isn't the first time that an Apple device was used as a medical tool. The Cognition Kit app integrated with the Apple Watch is tracking depression and epilepsy.
A non-invasive diabetes sensor was also being developed by the tech giant's sensor development teams. The device can also tell if its wearer is getting sick.
The Apple Watch's can determine heart problems by gathering heart rate data and identifying which of them are normal and which are signs of atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat that can lead to stroke and blood clots, among others). The feature immensely helped Dennis Anselmo of Alberta, Canada, who said that his Apple Watch warned him of an imminent heart attack.
Some studies, however, are skeptical over fitness trackers like the Apple Watch. They argued that the device could affect a diagnosis and a dosage of medicine, and they are especially harmful when they dole out guidance or advice that is a matter of life or death.