Google Cloud and Fitbit connect health data

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Fitbit Health Solutions and Google Cloud announced a solution for healthcare and life sciences companies to accelerate analytics and insights. Data from Fitbit devices with user consent will be accessible via the Fitbit Web API to generate analytics and thereby facilitate the management of chronic health conditions and also promote advances in clinical research.

The new Device Connect for Fitbit service addresses health data interoperability to “make the invisible visible”. Using Google Cloud technologies, it offers several pre-defined components to make Fitbit data accessible, interoperable and useful, with security and privacy.

With an open source data connector, automated data normalisation and integration with Google Cloud BigQuery, Device Connect for Fitbit is also compatible with emerging standards such as Open mHealth and enables interoperability when used with the Cloud Healthcare API for artificial intelligence training.

A pre-built interactive visualisation dashboard can be customised for different clinical settings and use cases and thus present insights more quickly. The solution can help on several fronts:

  • Pre and post-operative: Helping patients before and after surgery by tracking behavioural metrics such as activity level, sleep, weight and stress, providing visibility and generating insights for care teams into what is happening to patients outside the hospital.
  • Management of chronic conditions: For people with diabetes, for example, keeping glucose levels within an acceptable range is a constant concern. Heart disease and high blood pressure also require ongoing management. Device Connect for Fitbit can improve understanding of lifestyle factors and enable healthcare professionals to offer more personalised care and tools.
  • Population health: Better management of community health indices with a focus on preventive care can help reduce the advance of chronic diseases, improve people’s quality of life and reduce treatment costs. Users of Fitbit devices can also share their data with organizations that provide lifestyle change services for the prevention and management of chronic or acute health conditions.
  • Clinical Research: Clinical trials rely on patient data. Collecting data from study participants in doctors’ offices may only present the view of a particular moment in time and not necessarily lifestyle information. Fitbit has been used in over 1,500 published studies, enriching trials with more insights from lifestyle data and thus contributing to the quality of research.
  • Health equity: Addressing health disparities is a priority across the health ecosystem. Analyzing datasets such as demographic and social determinants of health along with Fitbit data can give companies and health researchers new insights into disparities across populations, for example, obesity that among children in low-income families or increased risk of pregnancy-related complications among black women.

Healthcare alone accounts for 30% of the data generated worldwide, and much of this volume will come from the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) and wearable devices adopted by end users. However, generating insights from this data coming from wearables can be challenging because of the lack of standardization between devices, resulting in different types and formats.

This is precisely the field in which the new Device Connect for Fitbit service is intended to operate. With this new solution, healthcare companies will be able to get a holistic view of patients outside of clinical care environments. With these insights in hand, they will be able to improve their understanding of behaviours and trends while patients are in their routines. Thus, they will be more likely to improve care, the work of researchers and, of course, the patients themselves. Based on a survey last year, 9 in 10 doctors (92%) believe that technology can have a positive impact on the patient experience and 96% agree that easier access to critical information can help save lives.

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