You can help medical research with Fitbit

January 22, 2019

Fitbit is a smart watch-cum-fitness tracker. For the casual jogger to hardcore athletes, there is a recommended Fitbit for everyone.

Recently, Fitbit and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have launched a digital health technology initiative for both fitness and precision medicine study.

Fitbit’s Bring-Your-Own-Device project and the All of Us research program is a joint initiative allowing current Fitbit users to sync their accounts and data. Users will share health indicators such as physical activity, heart rate, and sleep patterns, and also details on their weight, water intake and meals. With these, researchers will then have access to the data to build out a massive data set, touted as the world’s largest study.

This is the first digital health technology initiative for the All of Us program, launched in May 2018 under Scripps Research. Fitbit is the first wearable device maker to participate.

Eric Dishman, director of the All of Us research program, says digital technologies like Fitbit are key to enabling researchers to collect real-world, real-time data, fundamental to the program.

Dishman has noted that the valuable information provided will, in combination with many other data types, give researchers an unprecedented ability to better understand the impact of lifestyle and environment on health outcomes and better develop strategies for keeping people healthy in a more precise, individualized way.

Another All of Us research initiative also by Scripps Research Translational Institute using Fitbit devices will launch later on in 2019, with more than 10,000 Fitbit devices provided to a set of participants.

Fitbit is credited as one of the most commonly used fitness trackers in biomedical research. Recent analysis accords more than 6,752 published studies to have used a Fitbit device.

Fitbit is working towards clinical validation and approval of its software for use in detecting certain health conditions, including sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation. Many smartphone companies are trying to do this. Even tech giant’s Apple Watch Series 4 currently offers a standard feature to detect irregular heart rhythms. The device makers are pitching their products for use throughout hospitals and care centres.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) – concerning global market developments such as information and consumer technology – expects companies like Fitbit and Apple will drive growth in the smartwatch market and healthcare.

In the long run, this could mean better health and wellness for all.

Tags: ,

Category: Features, Technology & Devices

Comments are closed.