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Apple's debut CareKit apps target diabetes, depression, pregnancy

The new apps are designed to iPhone owners better manage medical conditions like depression and diabetes.

Glow is helping parents navigate their way through their baby's first year.

Apple's new health app array could keep the doctor away.

The technology titan on Thursday released the first set of CareKit apps, all of which are designed to help people manage medical conditions.

The four free apps include Informed Data Systems' OneDrop, built to help people with diabetes manage their disease, and Iodine's Start, which helps people on antidepressants understand whether their medication is working for them. Glow has also incorporated CareKit modules into two of its apps: Glow Nurture pregnancy tracker and Glow Baby first-year tracker.

Sensors capable of measuring human health have been built into smartphones for years and, more recently, wearable gear, but the challenge for tech companies has been offering consumers ways to understand the data these sensors spit out.

Apple has been introducing more health-related elements into its mobile software since the unveiling of HealthKit back in 2014.

CareKit, announced last month, is a new toolkit that enables developers to build apps that help users to actively manage their medical conditions, rather than just monitoring them. The goal is for patients to better understand changes in their health and share that information with their doctors.

Glow explained the changes that users will see in its own apps in a blog post Thursday. New smart notifications will indicate when health updates are significant enough that they should be shared with others. If a fever is detected in Glow Baby, for example, a parent will be directed to the Care Team page from which they can notify doctors.

"Better and easier sharing of information with all caretakers -- doctors, nurses, partners, parents, babysitters -- is yet another important way to take control of one's health," Glow said in the post.

Apple was criticized when it embarked on its health program for seemingly ignoring the specific needs of women. It has since begun rectifying this. The inclusion of Glow in its first round of CareKit apps may suggest that women's health now ranks higher on the company's list of priorities.

The CareKit apps will initially be available in the US, with more details about global availability coming soon.

For other health app developers hoping to work with CareKit, it is now available as an open-source framework on GitHub.