Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Researchers develop open-source Android version of Apple Health

Steve Rogerson
September 17, 2019
Cornell Tech, University of California in San Francisco (UCSF), Sage Bionetworks, Open mHealth and the Commons Project are collaborating to develop CommonHealth, an open source, non-profit Android version of Apple Health.
This public service is designed to make it easy and secure for people to collect their electronic health record data and share them with health apps and partners that have demonstrated their trustworthiness. Leveraging data interoperability standards including HL7 FHIR, CommonHealth will offer functionality analogous to Apple Health to users of all Android phones.
“Apple has shown real leadership and moved the industry forward by enabling patient access to their health information,” said JP Pollak, health product lead at the Commons Project and senior researcher at Cornell Tech. “Now CommonHealth is significantly expanding the number of people who can benefit from easy electronic access to their health records.”
The personal health data aggregated through CommonHealth may also be used to improve digital therapeutics and diagnostics, biomedical research, and patient care, as described by UCSF professor of medicine Ida Sim in the New England Journal of Medicine.
To ensure patient privacy and promote trust, the CommonHealth partners are implementing a robust governance model that will review and approve all apps connecting to CommonHealth.
“UCSF is committed to using technology to improve care for all of our patients,” said Russ Cucina, chief health information officer for UCSF Health. “The CommonHealth project will ensure that more of our patients have access to their health information, and that they can share it responsibly with the growing health technology sector.” 
CommonHealth is being piloted at UCSF and select academic medical centres and health systems.
“The upcoming launch of CommonHealth will unlock a wealth of opportunities for the developer and research communities, helping them to conduct more inclusive studies and deliver personal health management tools,” said Deborah Estrin, associate dean at Cornell Tech and co-founder of Open mHealth.
The Commons Project is a non-profit organisation established to build and operate digital services for public good. It was founded with support from the Rockefeller Foundation. 
UCSF is focused on the health sciences and dedicated to promoting health worldwide through biomedical research and graduate-level education in the life sciences.
Cornell Tech’s degree programmes and research initiatives provide responsive approaches to the rapid emergence of technologies and their societal impact in the digital age. It offers seven doctoral programmes and seven master’s programmes, including two dual-degree programmes with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology through the Jacobs Cornell-Technion Institute.
Open mHealth is a non-profit organisation that makes patient-generated health data more accessible with an open data format. Through community and software tools, its data standard helps developers normalise data coming from disparate data sources such as wearables and EHRs so it can make sense to the clinical world. Open mHealth was co-founded in 2011 by Deborah Estrin, Ida Sim and David Haddad. 
Sage Bionetworks is a non-profit biomedical research and technology development organisation that was founded in Seattle in 2009. Its focus is to develop and apply open practices to data-driven research for the advancement of human health.