- IBM and the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA) launched a new app Wednesday called SleepHealth designed for iPhones and Apple Watches .
- The app is key to a patient-driven SleepHealth Mobile Study that will look for connections between sleep habits and health outcomes. The study uses Apple's open source ResearchKit framework that will allow participants to complete tasks and submit surveys directly from SleepHealth.
- This is the first ResearchKit study to run on the Watson Health Cloud.
The study, involving researchers, physicians, and patient advocates, will examine connections between sleep quality and activities, productivity, general health and medical conditions. App users will be able to shape the study by contributing research topic ideas, survey questions, engagement activities, and messaging.
Participant data will be stored on the HIPAA-enabled Watson Health Cloud, where researchers will analyze the data to reveal patterns and connections. Researchers will be able to apply Watson Analytics for deeper data analysis.
The app also works as a personalized tool and will provide tips on health and sleep, such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule.
More than 10% of Americans suffer from chronic insomnia and 25 million suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, according to the CDC. Chronic sleep loss is associated with increased risk of cancer, depression, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and motor-vehicle accidents, according to the IBM press release.
"One of our goals at IBM Watson Health is to eliminate silos that hinder collaboration between researchers, patients, and clinicians, and create opportunities for these communities to share and learn from one another," said Dr. Kyu Rhee, chief health officer for Watson Health.
The study leaders hope that after several years of data collection, they will be able to develop personalized and public health interventions for various sleep-related health issues like mitigating workplace fatigue.
"We've made life the laboratory for this study by crowd-sourcing data and input to achieve an unprecedented understanding of sleep in a non-invasive manner," said Associate Professor at the University of California and ASAA's Chief Science Officer Carl Stepnowsky, the study's principal investigator.
"With ResearchKit and Watson Health Cloud, this new app will help us build the world's largest longitudinal study to collect data on both healthy and unhealthy sleepers that can be published as an open study and shared with other researchers," Stepnowsky said.
The SleepHealth app can downloaded for free from the App Store in the U.S.
More information on the study can be found at Sleeptember.org.