Care providers will be able to develop apps to track and manage patients’ medical conditions from today as Apple’s CareKit framework goes live on iOS.

The open-source framework which was announced last month is a key step forward for healthcare on Apple’s hardware after another framework, ResearchKit, launched last April. It enabled developers to create apps for medical research.

On Apple’s website, both frameworks now sit alongside each other and describe Apple’s desire to “widen the scope from medical research to personal care.”

The idea is iPhone users won’t need to rely on visiting the doctor and apps developed via the CareKit framework will allow them to track symptoms and medications, while also sharing information securely with the doctor.

Launch apps

To begin with there are just three launch partners with four apps between them, reports The Verge.

Firstly, there’s Glow with its apps Glow Nurture and Glow Baby, the first focused on pregnancy, while the second follows the baby’s first year. The app can inform a whole range of care-givers, not just doctors, but also family members and even babysitters about the progress.

There’s also a diabetes startup on board called One Drop. Its app will be able to track diabetes metrics, share anonymous data with other patients, while also sharing health reports to the patient’s doctor.

Start

One Drop

Finally, there’s Start, an app focused on supporting those suffering from depression, which can share progress with doctors – but this one isn’t just app-to-app, it can also send measurements to the doctor via fax.

One Drop

Start

After all, one of the strongest obstacles, alongside ensuring users trust the data is safe, is ensuring doctors are tech-savvy enough to also make use of the app-based approach.

All four apps are now available in the app store.