Apple has just introduced an open-source platform, CareKit, which will make it easier to build health care apps for iOS devices. Planned to be released in April, the software will work similarly like ResearchKit, but will concentrate more on patient care.

Through CareKit apps, people will be able to manage their own health and medical conditions, as well as monitor their symptoms, medications and treatment responses easily.

With the help of top medical organizations such as University of California San Francisco, Johns Hopkins and Stanford School of Medicine, the new framework can help people receive insights to better understand their health, track treatment progress and communicate their medical data to their health care providers and loved ones.

"We believe that giving individuals the tools to understand what is happening with their health is incredibly powerful, and apps designed using CareKit make this a reality by empowering people to take a more active role in their care," said Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer.

When patients are aware of and understand their health, they become empowered and committed to living a healthier life. They become health-conscious in a way that they safeguard their own well-being.

The platform includes four modules, including Care Card, which helps users track their individualized treatment regimen plans like medication schedules and physical therapy exercises. These activities can be tracked through sensors in an iPhone or an Apple Watch.

Another module is the Symptom and Measurement Tracker, which lets patients record the symptoms they are experiencing and monitor of their progress. The Insight Dashboard, the third module, maps symptoms against actions done in the Care Card to show the effectiveness of treatments. The last module is the Connect feature, which enables users to share their medical data and communicate with family, doctors or health care teams.

CareKit is best described as a close cousin to ResearchKit, another Apple platform introduced in 2015 that helps research groups apply large-scale studies through the use of iOS devices. CareKit, however, focuses on individualized care for users with health conditions and those who want to track their health and progress.

Apple's ResearchKit has showed promising results in the conduct of medical research. This prompted the company to develop new software, but this time focusing on using the same principles that can help people with their own health care.

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