Apple introduced the open source software framework CareKit at their launch event today, a new platform they hope will be used to develop new healthcare apps.

The Cupertino-based firm plans to release the software this April, with the aim to make it easier for end-users to track their health and monitor symptoms, treatment and medications. As well, it should be easier for patients using these apps to quickly share data with their doctors or family members and loved ones.

Apple CareKit

First five CareKit modules launched

ArsTechnica reports that while developers will have to wait another month for CareKit, the company did launch the first five modules, designed by Apple at today’s event.

They include:

Care Card: Focuses on treatment monitoring, such as medications or physical therapy goal progress, using data collected by an Apple Watch or an iPhone.

Symptom and Measurement Tracker: Allows users to survey and record their well-being and illness symptoms.

Insight dashboard: Using date from the Care Card app, helps patients analyze data collected.

Connect: Allows sharing of data and communications with the patient’s care team, including doctors, other healthcare professionals, family and other loved ones.

Apple announced that researchers and developers are already eager to start using CareKit, with apps under development designed to help post-surgery patients monitor their healing progress, diabetics to monitor and manage their illness, and new moms to keep track of their maternal health.

Apple Carekit #iot via @rww
A touch phone and smart watch with mobile app health sensor

Will CareKit match ResearchKit’s popularity?

The firm hopes that CareKit will see the same uptake as their ResearchKit platform – launched last year – which allows for the development of medical research apps. So far, developers and researchers created apps using ResearchKit that help diagnose and monitor autism symptoms in young children, help tailor care plans for Alzheimer’s patients, and collect data from epileptics to hopefully predict seizures in the future.

Last week, Harvard researchers announced a ResearchKit app to help professional football players track their mental and physical health.

To coincide with today’s launch, DNA testing company 23andMe announced a new ResearchKit module to allow people to share genetic data with researchers in a secure and streamlined fashion.

While platforms like CareKit and apps like 23andme’s will continue to bring up healthcare data security issues, the company said the overall move to more health monitoring is a positive thing, adding they’d like to see the same traction with CareKit as they have experienced with ResearchKit.

“We believe that giving individuals the tools to understand what is happening with their health is incredibly powerful,” said Apple COO Jeff Williams in a release accompanying the event. “Apps designed using CareKit make this a reality by empowering people to take a more active role in their care.”