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Fitbit Teams With Google To Give Your Data To Doctors: Will This Improve Healthcare?

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Fitbit is using Google's new Cloud Healthcare API and integrating the technology into its devices. This collaboration will be aimed at giving health care providers more data about patients.  ( Paul Morigi | Getty Images for Fitbit )

On April 30, Fitbit announced plans to team up with Google to give doctors and healthcare providers more pertinent medical information that could save lives.

Details Of The Partnership

With this collaboration in place, Google's new Cloud Healthcare API will be integrated into Fitbit's wearable technology. The new software provides medical professionals with access to fitness and health data from the smartwatches.

In 2016, Fitbit ended a similar partnership with Microsoft, which allowed users to sync personal medical data with the software company's HealthVault technology. In February 2018, it acquired healthcare software company Twine Health so that users could collaborate with doctors on important medical decisions.

Fitbit's new partnership with Google permits users to connect data with electronic medical records in a clinic or hospital.

"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 James Park, cofounder and CEO of Fitbit.

News of the partnership resulted in Fitbit's stock soaring nearly 10 percent on April 30.

How Will Fitbit Collect The Data?

To initiate the partnership, Fitbit will use the Google Cloud Platform. This technology allows Fitbit to protect consumer information and to provide more robust health data for users. 

Google launched the Healthcare API in March 2018 to address significant interoperability challenges in healthcare data. It merges machine learning with healthcare data types, such as FHIR, DICOM, and HL7, to provide new insight into important medical conditions.

The Healthcare API was originally launched to integrate with Google's own WearOS platform. However, Google's smartwatch is not as popular as Fitbit's wearable devices.

Connecting Data With Caregivers

Within Google's cloud, caregivers could access data from patients who might suffer from chronic conditions. Google hopes that this data, which will be available on a Fitbit dashboard, will lead to more personalized care.

"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," said Gregory Moore MD, PhD, Vice President, Healthcare, Google Cloud.

Adam Pellegrini, the manager of Fitbit's Health Solutions team, told Fast Company that the integration with Google's cloud could notify a user when to take medicine or exercise. It could also analyze data to determine future health outcomes.

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