On March 9, Apple Senior Vice President of Operations Jeff Williams made waves in the scientific community with the announcement of his company's new open source iPhone software, ResearchKit. The software gives developers a platform for apps that collect health data and create programs that help users improve their health. But in addition to benefiting iPhone users who simply want to make sense of all the health data they’re tracking, the new software gives researchers a platform to access the millions of bits of health data on users' iPhones.
In traditional clinical trials and population studies, participants are paid for their efforts. So why give the data away for free? A satisfactory answer lies in how responsive programmers can make apps, according to University of Michigan Prof. Victor Strecher.