The recent launch of Fitbit Care, a connected health platform for health plans, employers, and health systems, is a step in the right direction toward empowering patients with knowledge about their health, according to industry experts.
Fitbit Care combines health coaching and virtual care, Fitbit’s wearable devices and self-tracking and personalized digital interventions for wellness, disease management, and prevention. Health coaching and virtual care are available through a new Fitbit Plus app, which empowers users to communicate directly with their care team and health coach, and to self-track more advanced health metrics, including blood glucose, blood pressure, or medication adherence. For administrators, Fitbit Care also provides access to real-time population-level health metrics, including engagement and activity levels, giving customers an overall picture of program success.
This new platform will hopefully motivate employers to think about how they can further advance their benefit programs to deliver better outcomes at a lower cost, according to Nancy Reardon, chief strategy & product officer at Maestro Health, an employee health and benefits company in Chicago.
“Employers must look for opportunities to continually engage and drive behavior of their workforce with action forcing events,” Reardon says. “These actions must be personalized and relevant to each individual. For some, it may be hitting 10,000 steps on their Fitbit, while others would like to see a decrease in their A1c levels. This personalized overall well-being experience is what will truly change the healthcare game in the United States.”
Fitbit Care supports the management of chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, or depression; and complex conditions like chronic pulmonary obstructive disease or congestive heart failure.
“With healthcare costs and rates of chronic disease increasing, there is a clear need for innovative tools and services to help people make the lifestyle and behavior changes necessary to reverse this trend,” says Adam Pellegrini, general manager, Fitbit Health Solutions.
Fitbit Care will change healthcare in five ways:
- It will arm employers, health plans, and health systems with the devices, self-tracking and personalized digital interventions to help improve employee wellness, chronic conditions, and prevention. “It’s important that we take advantage of this data to derive additional insights to further identify, personalize, and address an individual’s specific needs,” says Reardon. “In fact, according to PwC, 78% of providers stated that they are unable to identify their patients’ social needs due to a lack of data insights. This launch is an indicator that more employers are looking to alternative modes of accessing healthcare data.”
- From a benefits perspective, we are going to see employers roll out more personalized care programs. “For example, employers may start supplementing technologies like Fitbit Care with personalized nurse coaching to help address employees’ specific health and financial wellness needs,” Reardon says.
- The general concept of “wellness” is going to shift to overall well-being. “We are going to see more environmental, social, and economic factors take a front seat when defining an individual’s overall health profile,” Reardon says.
- It will improve health outcomes by removing some of the most difficult barriers to behavior change and improving care team collaboration. “What makes Fitbit Care powerful is the combination of health coaching and virtual care, Fitbit’s innovative wearable devices and self-tracking, and personalized digital interventions to deliver a more comprehensive approach to wellness, and disease management and prevention,” says Pellegrini.
- It will make behavior change possible by providing patients with a clear plan, measurable goals, a support system that keeps them accountable through a powerful combination of technology and human connection. “Fitbit Care also works for individuals wherever they are in their health journey with timely interventions that support wellness and prevention, chronic condition management, and complex care management,” says Pellegrini. “Fitbit Care also brings support to patients beyond the walls of the doctor’s office, a must in order to drive successful outcomes.”
Fitbit Care is an offering that health plans, employers, and health systems can make available to their members and employees.
Humana Inc. recently selected Fitbit Care as a preferred coaching solution for its employer group segment. More than 5 million Humana members will have the potential to access the product.