Apple is gearing up to release a new metric called Walking Steadiness aimed at preventing falls in older people. But the potentially transformative feature raises a nagging question: How much does a tech company need to divulge about its health research?
So far, the company has only shared a narrow glimpse of studies underpinning the tool. While such relative secrecy might be typical for Apple and other consumer tech giants, their growing presence in health care is prompting an increasingly loud refrain from health researchers who want to see the data and decide for themselves.
“In terms of the evidence that they can publish to convince someone like me that this is useful and it is applicable and can do what it’s asking [the iPhone] to do … I need more data,” said James Tung, an engineering professor at the University of Waterloo who has spent a decade researching how to use sensors to assess fall risk.
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