The partnership between Fitbit and Google has the potential to revolutionize digital healthcare by enabling patients to link personal data with medical records.
Fitbit and Google are joining forces to change the way healthcare providers receive and process patient data. For Google, this is one of many initiatives that aims to make an impact in a growing industry that represents over $3 trillion in annual spending.
For Fitbit, this partnership is a natural extension of its device capabilities. The company is transitioning from counting steps and calories to offering professional medical insights based on users’ biometric data.
Now, Fitbit and Google will connect user data from wearable devices to the healthcare system. Using Google’s new Cloud Healthcare API, Fitbit wearers can link their personal data with their electronic medical records (EMR). This will allow doctors to access long-term, up-to-date information and focus on patients’ individual needs.
New Opportunities for Digital Healthcare
Fitbit plans to use its own expanding resources and Google’s artificial intelligence, machine learning capabilities, and predictive algorithms to provide more services to its users.
“Working with Google gives us an opportunity to transform how we scale our business, allowing us to reach more people around the world faster, while also enhancing the experience we offer to our users and the healthcare system,” said Fitbit CEO James Park in a statement. “This collaboration will accelerate the pace of innovation to define the next generation of healthcare and wearables.”
Fitbit already collects data to evaluate users’ sleep patterns and heart rates. It recently launched an initiative to help women monitor their periods and analyze menstrual data. In February, Fitbit acquired Twine Health, a HIPAA-compliant cloud-based health management platform that has the potential to help wearable users manage chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension.
The partnership with Google has the potential to offer a more comprehensive patient profile, which will likely help doctors provide more personalized medical care.
“At Google, our vision is to transform the way health information is organized and made useful,” Gregory Moore MD, PhD, Vice President, Healthcare, Google Cloud, said in the official statement. “By enabling Fitbit to connect and manage key health and fitness data using our Google Cloud Healthcare API, we are getting one step closer to this goal. Together, we have the opportunity to deliver up-to-date information to providers, enhancing their ability to follow and manage the health of their patients and guide their treatment.”
What This Partnership Means for Patients and Providers
With U.S. healthcare costs rising rapidly, big tech is more interested than ever in capturing a piece of the market. Fitbit and Google’s partnership arises among efforts from Amazon, Apple, and Walmart, who are working to turn their core business strengths into effective healthcare solutions. As these major companies collaborate with each other or with smaller, specialized startups, patients are likely to benefit from their rapid innovations.
Merging data reporting and healthcare is a natural partnership that promises to help doctors better understand their patients, as well as identify links between lifestyle and chronic health conditions like insomnia and hypertension. Partnerships like the one between Google and Fitbit not only provide patients and doctors with more resources, but they are also poised to have a substantial impact on patient-centric care. That said, we can’t wait to see where these developments lead.