Apple is pushing deeper into the business of health with their new CareKit, an open source tool for building apps that lets iPhone owners track their medical data and share it with doctors. At launch in this month there will be a Parkinson's disease app to help track the effectiveness of medicines being taken, and a post-surgery app by the Texas Medical Centre to ensure best possible recovery after being discharged. CareKit will include a Care Card, which helps keep tabs on medication or physical therapy. People can measure their symptoms, upload photos that illustrate the healing process, and more. If this all sounds familiar, that makes sense—CareKit is an extension of ResearchKit, another open-source software framework Apple developed as a tool for medical researchers. It’s also quite similar to HealthKit, Apple’s original health-related software framework. Apple COO Jeff Williams says CareKit is ‘empowering people to take a more active role in their care’. However, consumer health apps often run into a problem. Their challenge is to remain relevant and trusted in the long term, instead of falling victim to a gimmick-app hype. The support of the medical community is crucial to achieve this. No matter how cool you think your new heart beat monitor is, if you show the data to a doctor who says he/she doesn’t want to rely on it, the appeal of the app as a health companion goes out of the window. It is undeniable that more people are using technology to access primary healthcare; in fact two-thirds of British people have used it, according to a study of more than 1, 000 British adults carried out by on-demand video GP consultation service, PushDoctor.co.uk. The report reveals that ordering repeat prescriptions is the most popular way of using technology to access healthcare services. More than one in five people surveyed said they have communicated with a GP online - e.g. via live chat, while 7% have used video consultation services to speak to a GP. So it looks apparent that patients want to have more control over their care and that they are using technology to do so, but are they concerned about their privacy at all? As Wired and other tech news outlets have noted, CareKit applications will handle some of, if not the most sensitive personal data imaginable, and the pressure will be on Apple to provide the type of robust security measures this demands. CareKit data stored on the device will be encrypted, and users will decide which apps and third parties get to see it, Apple says. Still, the prospect of millions of iPhone users generating massive amounts of personal health data means Apple has a long discussion about privacy and security ahead of it--one that could influence the FBI case, and which is already getting into high gear, judging by the reaction on social media. How is the information getting to your doctor? How is that information safeguarded on both sides? I’m glad it’s an opt-in although if you’re going to use this, why would you opt out?), but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re losing control of your own medical data. Will you use the Carekit?