Apple's App Store turns 10 — Here are 4 ways it's tackled healthcare

It's been a full decade since Apple introduced its App Store on July 10, 2008.

The initial marketplace, which comprised just 500 apps, has grown to more than 2 million, according to The Verge. At Becker's Hospital Review's time of publication, the No. 1 free app in the App Store's health and fitness category was "Sweatcoin," an activity tracker that incentivizes users to meet their step goals with digital currency.

Here are four ways Apple's online shop has tackled healthcare since 2008:

1. Health and fitness apps have surged in popularity during the past decade, according to a statement Apple released July 9. The Apple Watch, a line of smartwatches Apple rolled out in 2015, has driven some of this interest — downloads for fitness and wellness apps that track users' health goals rose 75 percent after the Apple Watch's launch.

2. To capitalize on its smartwatch's success, Apple isn't just working with third-party app developers like Nike, Dexcom and One Drop for the Apple Watch. In late 2017, the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant — in collaboration with Stanford (Calif.) University School of Medicine and American Well — launched the Apple Heart Study app, a research project that leverages the Apple Watch's heart rate sensor to detect irregular heart rhythms.

3. Apple also offers two software frameworks to help physicians, researchers and developers in the healthcare industry create apps that improve patient care: CareKit, a software framework that helps developers build apps focused on users' well-being, and ResearchKit, a software framework that helps scientists build apps to gather data for clinical research.

Physicians and researchers have used these two software tools for clinical studies related to autism, Parkinson's disease and postoperative rehabilitation, which have involved an estimated 3 million patients. In late 2016, a team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore worked with Apple's CareKit to create Corrie, a healthcare resource app for heart attack survivors.

4. In one of the company's most ambitious healthcare projects to date, Apple in January revealed plans to integrate patient health records into its Health app. In the latest iOS 11.3 beta, iPhone Health apps will include a "Health Records" section that enables patients to organize medical information, such as immunizations and lab results, from various hospitals and health systems.

More articles on health IT:
How Microsoft is shaking up healthcare
David Geller spent 20 years working with DreamWorks, Yahoo — Here's why he pivoted to healthcare
10 things to know about 23andMe, the DNA testing company that wants to reunite families separated at the border

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