The addition of several big employers to its corporate healthcare program caps off a busy December for wearables maker Fitbit Inc.
This week Fitbit, which is making digital healthcare data collection for business a major strategic initiative, signed New York Life Insurance Co., Pitney Bowes Inc., SAP SE and Sharp Healthcare to corporate wellness deals. Under the terms of the deals, Fitbit will supply each company with a supply of Fitbit devices, which in time will be included in an employee wellness program. Each company, depending on its choice of action, will either give all or some employees a free wearable to use as part of wellness program or offer workers a subsidy to purchase their own Fitbit.
Fitbit Group Health will equip company employees with a Fitness wearable device and track results, help employers set up plans for collecting and measuring activity and weight data online as part of personal weight loss plans and even develop custom health research studies with various organizations such as the Mayo Clinic. At Pitney Bowes, a developer of services for e-commerce, shipping and mailing, customer engagement and customer information management, the company will offer subsidized Fitbits as part of a custom wellness program to more than 10,000 employees and their spouses or partners. Fitbit also will provide similar services and digital healthcare services to 2,200 employees of Virgin Pulse, a healthcare software business development company thats part of Virgin Group Ltd., the British multinational venture capital conglomerate founded by entrepreneur Richard Branson.
Employers continue to look to consumer-oriented technology and services to develop wellness programs that can empower people to take charge of their health and fitness, says Fitbit Group Health vice president and general manager Amy McDonough.
In addition to signing new corporate wellness deals in December, Fitbit also acquired the assets of another device maker and began working with a major medical equipment manufacturer on a digital device and data collection plan for better monitoring of diabetes. On Dec. 7, Fitbit for an undisclosed sum acquired the assets of Pebble Technology Group, including key personnel and intellectual property related to software and firmware development.
Pebble developed and sold smartwatches and expertise in developing wearables devices with Android operation systems. Pebble was a trail blazer of the largest open, agnostic connected device operating system, which complements Fitbits broad cross-platform compatibility with more than 200 iOS, Android and Windows phone devices, says Fitbit CEO James Parks.
In addition to the Pebbles deals Fitbit also is looking to extend digital healthcare collaboration with medical device manufacturers such as with Medtronic, a large medical device manufacturer and services provider with annual revenue of more than $18 billion and headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. The two companies will develop a more comprehensive approach for diabetes management that includes integrating a new mobile app that will allow patients living with type 2 diabetes to see their glucose levels and physical activity data in one streamlined application. Under the terms of the deal, the mobile appknown as the iPro2 myLog mobile appwill be integrated into Fitbits wearables and Medtronics iPro2 glucose monitoring system.
The integrated approach of letting patients and doctors use an app that is connected to both a glucose monitor and a wearable device is meant to increase the quality of care for patients with type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, says Fitbit vice president of digital health Adam Pellegrini. We believe the integration of wearable technology with professional diagnostic tools can provide a more accurate and actionable view of a patients physical activity, Pellegrini says. By partnering with Medtronic, we are able to bring the power of Fitbits automatic activity tracking together with continuous glucose monitoring, allowing patients and providers to have a more informed conversation.Favorite