ResearchKit seemed to come out of nowhere, but it only seemed that way...

Medical research needed a way to reach more people more effectively. Tear-tag flyers on bulletin boards just weren't cutting it. The future was clearly in mobile devices — the personal technology more and more people had with them every day — and in the cloud — the servers that could bring it all together — but how could that future be brought into the present? Fusion:

Sitting in the audience [of Dr. Stephen Friend's Standford MedX talk on September 27, 2013] was Mike O'Reilly, a newly minted vice president for medical technologies at Apple. A few months earlier, Apple had poached O'Reilly from Masimo, a Bay Area-based sensor company that developed portable iPhone-compatible health trackers. Now, he was interested in building something else, something that had the potential to implement Friend's vision of a patient-centered, medical research utopia and radically change the way clinical studies were done.

After Friend's talk, O'Reilly approached the doctor, and, in typical tight-lipped Apple fashion, said: "I can't tell you where I work, and I can't tell you what I do, but I need to talk to you," Friend recalls. Friend was intrigued, and agreed to meet for coffee.

The whole story is great, give it a read.