Fitbit Collaborates With Google On Wearables, Connecting Healthcare Data

Fitbit will use Google’s Cloud services and Healthcare API to build out new digital health-related and wearables offerings for consumers, as well as care management and coaching professionals.

The partnership, announced Monday, enables the two companies to design and build platforms, such as a dashboard that might link together patient electronic medical records (EMR). All are designed as HIPAA-compliant platforms.

The companies also plan to design ways for caregivers and physicians to manage chronic health conditions like diabetes and hypertension by using services and technology from Fitbit’s recently acquired Twine Health. Fitbit acquired Twin earlier this year for an undisclosed sum.

Using Google’s Cloud Healthcare API, Fitbit will rely on technology from Twine, a health management platform that focuses on data about hypertension and diabetes.

Google’s Healthcare API, announced in early March, processes and manages types of healthcare data, such as HL7, FHIR and DICOM, and enables professionals to use the data for analytics and machine learning in the cloud.  



Google’s partnership with Fitbit will help the Alphabet company complete against Apple and others in the healthcare wearable space. In January, Apple announced an update to its healthcare app for the iPhone, with Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, and Penn Medicine, along with other participating hospitals and clinics that were among the first to make the beta feature available to their patients.

The updated Health Records section in the iPhone Health app brings together hospitals, clinics and the existing Health app to make it easy for consumers to search for and view their available medical data from multiple providers when they choose.

In the past, patients’ medical records were held in multiple locations, requiring patients to log into each care provider’s website and piece together the information manually.

Although the data is HIPAA-compliant, it's not clear whether Google and Fitbit will have an opportunity to generalize the healthcare data and use it to target content and advertisements to specific individuals or audience segments during searches or on publisher websites.  

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