ASAA, IBM team up on app, study

Thursday, March 3, 2016

WASHINGTON – The American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA) and IBM have partnered on a SleepHealth app for the iPhone and Apple Watch and a SleepHealth Research Study to help identify connections between sleep habits and health outcomes.

The project uses the open source ResearchKit framework designed by Apple to allow participants to complete tasks and submit surveys from the SleepHealth app. That data will be stored on the Watson Health Cloud, where researchers will be able to conduct extensive analysis to uncover patterns and connections.

"This study marks the association's commitment to patient-led research and data-driven discovery,” said Carl Stepnowsky, the principal investigator for the study, associate professor at University of California at San Diego and ASAA's chief science officer, in a release. “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."

In the future, researchers hope to develop personalized and public health interventions for a variety of sleep-related health issues, such as helping athletes optimize training before a big event, mitigating fatigue in the workplace, and detecting early symptoms of Alzheimer's and mental health disorders.

The SleepHealth app is available to anyone in the U.S. as a free download from the App Store.