Garmin-Fitabase integration offers new data management platform for wearable-powered research

The device maker's wearables and Fitabase's research platform are already being used in a Copenhagen University study on physical activity during pregnancy.
By Dave Muoio

Garmin’s wearables will soon support Fitabase’s research data management platform thanks to a partnership and API integration between the two companies. Announced this morning, the move positions Garmin’s devices as another hardware option for clinical studies looking to track participants’ biometrics.

In a statement, the companies noted that the connected Garmin-Fitabase platform is already being employed in a Copenhagen University study, which is exploring how physical activity during a pregnancy might impact the mother and child’s health.

"We are incredibly excited to work with Fitabase and Garmin to capture novel endpoints for our project aimed at improving the health of mothers and children,” Signe de Place Knudsen, a fellow in Copenhagen University’s department of biomedical sciences, said in a statement from the companies. “Using friendly consumer devices paired with powerful research tools will make a significant impact on supporting the needs of our research.”

Why it matters

Researchers have increasingly been looking to consumer wearables as a means to track metrics such as activity, sleep and heart rate without having to rely on subject self reports. By partnering with a data management platform designed from the ground up for clinical research, Garmin has made its various devices more appetizing to those planning such investigations.

“The objective is that continuous data from Garmin wearables provides researchers a comprehensive window into activity, heart rate, sleep and even pulse ox data that may help to better understand the relationship between lifestyle behaviors and health outcomes,” Travis Johnson, Garmin Health global product lead, said in a statement.

What’s the trend

Fitabase has been a longtime clinical research partner to Fitbit, one of Garmin’s primary competitors. In years past the two collaborated on a research data library, as well as on a community-based wearable pilot program conducted by the city of Santa Monica.

Garmin, for its part, has been cutting health and research deals left and right. In May the device maker joined up with the University of Kansas Medical Center on a sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation-focused research project. In August, Garmin and Cardiogram announced an integration that would bring heart health insights to Garmin’s users.

On the record

“Garmin is excited to work with an innovative company like Fitabase that’s focused on accelerating digital health research that will ultimately lead to the improvement of health outcomes and reduce costs for patients,” Johnson said in a statement. “The integration of the Garmin Health API with Fitabase is a great example of our commitment to provide a great user experience for participants involved in these studies and therefore better results through increased program adherence.”