Fitbit to Collaborate With Google

Doug Carpenter
May 1, 2018

Google's fledgling Cloud Healthcare service will provide Fitbit users with an online repository to store their data and includes integration with electronic medical record systems. So far, Fitbit, known for its fitness wearable gadgets, has sold more than 76 million devices, built a community of more than 25 million active users and possesses one of the world's largest health and fitness databases. Fitbit CEO James Park said the cooperation will push the pace of innovation and define the next generation of healthcare and wearables.

Google's partnership with Fitbit will help the Alphabet company complete against Apple and others in the healthcare wearable space.

Fitbit announced plans to take advantage of Google's Cloud Healthcare API this morning.

The two are also looking to help customers better manage chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes through Twine Health, the health coaching platform Fitbit acquired earlier this year. It provides a central way to port and control DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine), FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), and HL7 v2 (Health Level Seven International) information. Using Google's Cloud Healthcare API, Twine will make it easier for clinicians and patients to collaborate, helping lead to better health outcomes and positive returns for employers, health plans and hospitals. Fitbit's ability to contribute data to the API is a win for both companies.

"At Google, our vision is to transform the way health information is organized and made useful", said Gregory Moore MD, PhD, VP of Healthcare, Google Cloud. All are designed as HIPAA-compliant platforms.

While the announcement came with promises to "innovate and transform the future of wearables", Pellegrini and a Fitbit representative were hesitant to describe the specifics of Google's potential impact on the former's flagship products outside of the possibility of further OS and software refinements. This will be possible due to Google's engineering support, AI, machine learning, as well as new predictive analytic algorithms. Google's own Anroid Wear platform hasn't exactly set the world of smartwatches on fire, so it's hard to predict what the two companies might accomplish together.

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