Apple launches CareKit with health apps targeting diabetes, pregnancy and depression

Apple announced the debut Thursday of the first apps made using CareKit, the open-source software framework it introduced last month to help developers create healthcare apps that allow patients to track, manage and report their medical conditions. The new apps were developed by start-ups One Drop, Glow and Iodine, which had been given early access to the platform, in collaboration with Apple's CareKit team.

Specifically, One Drop's diabetes-management app incorporates CareKit modules to help patients with diabetes track their symptoms, set health benchmarks and share health reports with doctors and other caregivers. Glow has integrated CareKit into its Glow Nurture and Glow Baby apps, which focus on pregnancy and a child's first year, respectively. Jennifer Tye, the company's vice president of partnerships and marketing, said the move gives users the ability to inform their care team about their progress.

Iodine incorporated Apple's open-source tool into Start, a medication-management app for patients withdepression. CEO Thomas Goetz noted that with CareKit, "we're now able to let people send their progress reports, which have their PHQ-9 score, [the] clinical measure for depression, directly to their doctor via fax." The app also provides medication reminders and side-effect logging. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Clinic is working on an app for patients with respiratory conditions, such as asthma, that is expected to belaunched in the coming days.

While the CareKit framework is now available to all developers, Apple's guidelines for app submission prohibit developers from sharing user information with third parties for marketing or data-mining purposes. Further, the company will also reject apps that offer diagnoses or treatment advice without FDA approval.

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