Apple, later last week, launched a new app that would let its users enroll in three health studies, allowing users share health-related information for research purposes. The research studies are conducted in collaboration with research institutes such as the NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Apple device users who download the said research app can already enroll in studies such as Apple Women's Study, Apple Hearing, and Apple Heart and Movement Study.
According to NDTV, upon enrollment in the health studies, participants who are using an iPhone and Apple watch can add useful data "around the movement, heart rate, and noise levels, captured during the daily activities," from taking a walk to watching concerts. More so, users can control the kind of data they want to share with each of the studies. This initiative comes at a time when big players in the industry are asserting further into the collection of health-related information of the users.
The Three Studies
In terms of privacy, Apple emphasizes that the information of the users will not be sold. Moreover, users may opt for which particular study to join and which information they want to share. They can also leave the study anytime they want. Lastly, health studies must inform the users of how the information supports the research. The three studies include:
- Apple Women's Health Study - Focuses on menstrual cycles and their relation to women's health. This study, Apple claims, is the first long-term research of both this scope and scale.
- Apple Hearing Study - Looks into the effect of sound exposure on both the stress levels and sound exposure over time. It also aims to collect the usage of headphones and environmental exposure sound exposure to data via the Noise app on Apple Watch and iPhone.
- The Apple Heart and Movement Study - Measures how both the quantity and quality of the movement of an individual can provide insight into their present and future status of health. Through this study, users can already participate via the research app on the iPhone, and by recording daily workouts on an Apple Watch (Series 1 or even later).
A More Visible Effort
While the Research app of Apple has been a more visible initiative, what this big tech company does with its users' health data is likely to dictate the future of Apple. The tech giant said those who choose the Research are only able to share data with programmed partners. This Research mobile app was carefully developed to only share information with the selected study upon the user's approval.
Finally, the app includes a well-defined or clear flow of enrollment with the detailed consent explaining how the data would be used. As mentioned, privacy is never compromised with the launch of these health studies an Apple user may enroll in. He can only share data once it gets approved, even after the other users join the studies. More so, users can stop sharing information or leave any of the studies together whenever they want.