Apple hires Duke doctor known as early pioneer of HealthKit & ResearchKit

in General Discussion
Apple has hired on Dr. Ricky Bloomfield, formerly the director of mobile strategy at Duke University and an early adopter of Apple's HealthKit and ResearchKit platforms, according to a report.

The news was initially revealed by a colleague on Twitter and later confirmed by Apple, MobiHealthNews said. As usual the company didn't say what his new role would be, but his colleague indicated it was on Apple's health team.

Duke first integrated HealthKit in 2014, the same year the platform was announced, making use of it to weave patient-created data into its electronic health records. Specifically, a pilot project monitored weight and blood pressure data from patients with cancer and heart problems.

Bloomfield helped create Duke's Austism & Beyond, an early ResearchKit project, which employs video analysis with the idea that it might eventually be able to screen for behavioral conditions like autism or anxiety.

Since June alone Apple has hired several prominent doctors -- perhaps most notably Dr. Stephen Friend, the president and co-founder of Sage Bionetworks, which helped build the infrastructure for several ResearchKit apps.

Apple is most likely interested in continuing to build up HealthKit, ResearchKit, and more recently CareKit, as well as its Health app for iOS. The company has been rumored as working on a new device for 2017, though, that would go beyond the heartrate monitoring of the Apple Watch to track pulse, blood sugar, and more.


  • Reply 1 of 2
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,660member
    That's good...
    There are three main areas of growth in the mobile & wearable markets:   Fitness, Health/Wellness/Research, and general use (like telling time or checking messages).

    With the Apple Watch Apple started out strong in health and research but it fizzled.  Time for a refresh...  Part of the trouble is the closed circuit mentality of our healthcare system and professionals.  That is: to their way of thinking, if it isn't "medical grade" equipment, then it is to be ignored and discredited.  And, by their definition, any gadget manufactured by Apple cannot be medical grade -- because medical grade equipment can only be marketed to health care professionals and their organizations.

    But too:  Apple needs a strong refresh in health & fitness and wellness.  Teaming with Nike was better than nothing, but barely (Nike is no longer leading the pack).   They need to focus on this area by bringing in those dedicated to and knowledgeable about the needs of those committed to health and fitness.and wellness.   It is a huge but untapped area.  
  • Reply 2 of 2
    I am thrilled by the initiatives underlying such Apple hires. They pave the way to our future.

    However, while iPhone focuses on collecting health and fitness data, people have a multitude of health and fitness interests that a few silicon sensors don't serve. Health care, fitness and wellness accounts for 15-20% of the entire economy! Unfortunately, few of those interests are being served by Apple's current approach.

    When considering my own health and wellness situation, I think of: my doctors, their contact information, my appointments, the results of my past checkups, advice I was given, medicines I am taking, how much I am spending on insurance and care, competing bids for health insurance and pills, calories and nutrition in the food I eat, how much I am exercising, tracking aches and pains that occur so infrequently that I forget to tell my doctor, medical research relating to my conditions and past test results, what is known from close relatives and DNA about likely future risks, sharing my health data with my doctors, whether my exercise today exceeds prudent norms, etc. I want to tell Siri about my health concerns, and let her use that information to offer insights and suggestions.

    I didn't list these things to be tedious, but to point out that people are not going to treat iPhone like a health and wellness partner if it only scratches the surface of their needs. Sure, people who already own an iPhone may use it to count their daily steps, but Apple is in the business of selling iPhones to people who don't already have them. If health is going to provide a use case for owning an iPhone, a wide range of services is required. People who take care of themselves should demand an iPhone because doing otherwise would be reckless. Health and life insurance companies should insist on iPhone for clients who get the best rates.

    The same applies to iPhone for payments, iPhone in cars, iPhones in the home. Apple is sitting around waiting for these markets to develop on their own, without any real involvement on its part. That's why IoT is languishing now. Apple has a product and a secret plan, but meanwhile manufacturing partners, vendors and infrastructure providers are stumbling around in the dark trying to discover it. Apple should assist app developers in these areas, provide technical assistance, and offer 10,000 financial grants to get projects up and running around the world.
Sign In or Register to comment.