Fitbit announced a new collaboration with the University of Massachusetts to study the impact of wearable health devices and wellness behavior change support on health outcomes and healthcare costs.
The partnership with the Massachusetts eHealth initiative announced on January 15th will leverage the Fitbit Care platform for this clinical study.
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The study will be a randomized controlled trial with 700 participants who are employees of UMass Memorial Health Care in which 350 participants (control group) receive standard wellness and medical benefits and services for UMass Memorial Health Care employees and in which 350 participants (intervention group) receive these same standard benefits and services as well as the full Fitbit Care product suite (Fitbit wrist-worn device, Fitbit connected weight scale, and Fitbit Premium + Health Coaching service).
Participants in the intervention group will be offered support in improving health behaviors that are important to them, including activity, nutrition, sleep, stress management, and medication adherence.
They will also be offered support in tying these behaviors to their health goals, including blood pressure management, blood sugar management, cholesterol management, weight loss, smoking cessation, etc.
The hypothesis is that those in the intervention group will experience improved results compared to those in the control group.
In turn, the improved results will lead to better health behaviors, improved biometrics, and overall lower healthcare costs via lower hospitalization rates and fewer complications.
Participants will have biometric screenings (including body weight, waist circumference, blood pressure, hemoglobin A1c, and LDL and HDL cholesterol) at the beginning and end of the study that will be used to determine, for each biometric, the percentage of participants in each study arm who reach standard clinical target values, and the percentage of participants will be compared between the intervention and control groups.
Fitbit has been involved in several clinical trials. The enterprise arm, Fitbit health solutions, has also been active recently in numerous enterprise initiatives such as the defense department.
Given the completion of the acquisition agreement, Fitbit is now part of Google, and it will be interesting to see how this changes the company’s offerings in the months and years to come.