Medical device maker Medtronic has teamed up with Fitbit to integrate physical activity data with blood glucose levels into one streamlined application.
People living with type 2 diabetes who use Medtronic's iPro2 continuous glucose monitoring system and its companion app, iPro2 myLog, will now be able to have their Fitbit data automatically synced to the app, enabling them to easily see the connection between their exercise and glucose levels. For people with this condition, understanding how exercise affects glucose is a critical element to proper diabetes management, but many have been either manually tracking and recording their physical activity or working with several apps at once.
Adam Pellegrini, Fitbit’s vice president of digital health, said the integration of wearable technology with professional diagnostic tools can make the data gleaned from physical activity more accurate and actionable, and that the partnership with Medtronic was a long time coming.
“There really was a natural desire to help those with type 2 diabetes, who need to check their glucose frequently and be active to maintain their weight, to really have both levels in the same place,” Pellegrini told MobiHealthNews in an interview. “We wondered: How could Fitbit, which is on the wrist of so many Americans, work with the most credible organization in the diabetes management space? They know diabetes, we know consumers. Creating this dual data visualization platform was our way to do more together.”
Pellegrini, who was previously head of digital health for Walgreens Boots Alliance before joining Fitbit in August, is responsible for leading the fitness wearable company deeper into the healthcare ecosystem. He said the partnership with Medtronic represents a major step for the company.
“This is definitely the first major project I am a part of where we work with a device manufacturer directly to integrate data together for the consumer,” he said. “Obviously, we’ve integrated with a lot of apps and programs and have API integration out there, but this is specific around CGM and is specific around the fact that the data is streamlined in one place.”
While the data integration will be available immediately to people who use both the iPro2 system and a Fitbit, the two companies are also finalizing details on a plan to offer Fitbit trackers to those who currently only use the CGM at a reduced rate. In addition to the simplicity for consumers to see all the data and easily share it with their healthcare provider, Pellegrini said the iPro2 myLog app with Fitbit data will provide education for all involved. There will also be ongoing evaluation of the iPro2 myLog, and the companies expect to have multiple iterations of the dual visualization platform.
“If you actually see the correlation in physical activity and glucose levels before and after you eat, it is really fascinating and it really empowers the user to see how their behavior impacts their health,” he said. “On the healthcare provider's side, they can learn more granular data about how physical activity fit into diabetes management. What are the synergies and impact areas? It’s a care-team driven experience.”
While Fitbit is already pretty well established as a partner on clinical studies and integration with other healthcare programs and pilots, Pellegrini says the Medtronic partnership is sign of what is to be expected in the future for Fitbit. Pellegrini was not able to speak specifically about which devices or companies Fitbit is looking to partner with, but he did say they are looking at many potential projects based on the different use cases logged in Fitbit’s research library, especially those with remote monitoring devices.
“This should be the first notification that we are transforming into a digital healthcare company, because there is nothing that says digital health more than integration of devices and data that coordinates the communication stream with consumers and healthcare providers,” he said.