Apple’s ResearchKit might soon include mood tracking

A few months back, I wrote a post questioning why Apple’s ResearchKit, its tool for researchers to develop iPhone-based studies, doesn’t include mental health tracking. It might seem like a major oversight, but it’s somewhat understandable that the research is thin on the ground to show how mobile devices can be used to monitor stress, anxiety, and depression.

But today, it appears that Apple’s partners in health care are making some major steps in that direction. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has put out a call for researchers and techies to submit proposals for ResearchKit studies that “will further our understanding of mood and how it relates to daily life.” One approach might be to allow users to input self-reported data on their mood, as well as exercise levels, sleep, and other metrics. Another might involve testing how stress and anxiety levels manifest in the body by tracking heart rate, perspiration levels, and respiration. 

 As Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, CEO of the foundation, put it: 

“We know that mood is one of the keys to health, but much more can be learned about the relationship between mood and the many social and economic factors that affect it, and our health.”

I’ll keep you posted on the progress of this initiative as it rolls out!