Fitbit wants to help employees return to work safely

A new enterprise offering called Ready for Work will use devices, apps and dashboards to conduct daily screening for COVID-19 symptoms.
By Dave Muoio
09:33 am
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With much of the world gradually returning to work after COVID-19 lockdowns, Fitbit sees a new opportunity to engage its employer customers with device- and app-driven health monitoring.

The company today announced what it's calling its Ready for Work solution, a service comprising a daily health check-in for employees and an analytics dashboard for their employers, both of which are being offered through Fitbit Health Solutions.

The first component is an app-based experience that asks users about any recent exposures or testing results, and presents the opportunity to log their symptoms and temperature. The tool also displays the user's resting heart rate, heart rate variability and breathing rate, alongside advice on whether they should attend or stay home from work.

Employers, meanwhile, are given a dashboard to help monitor their employees' health. Alongside enrollment and utilization trends, the tool can help spot signs of COVID-19 among the workforce, and supports in-app alerts and other communications.

Employers who purchase the offering can also offer their staff a range of content included within its Fitbit Care behavior-change program, which include podcasts, webinars, videos and coaching focused on stress and mental health.

WHY IT MATTERS

Employers small and large are contending with the logistics of a return to work. However, mixed messaging and evidence of rising COVID-19 case counts within certain states have many looking to adopt new screening precautions to catch budding clusters and ease troubled minds. Fitbit's experience in building consumer-focused products could make it uniquely poised to drive greater engagement than other digital public health tools (such as contact-tracing apps) have experienced in the past few months.

The new service is also a clear opportunity for Fitbit to expand its Fitbit Health Solutions business. Ready for Work is a natural fit alongside existing programs that outfit corporate customers with wearable trackers and health content. It could be in a prime position to convert new business partners into long-term employee-wellness customers.

THE LARGER TREND

Fitbit's interest in screening device-owners' health symptoms extends beyond the employer market. A few weeks ago, the company launched an in-app study seeking to develop an algorithm that could spot early cases of COVID-19 prior to symptom onset. And that came only a couple months after announcing a more general disease detection effort alongside the Scripps Research Translational Institute.

But some other already have a head start on the wearables maker when it comes to digital employee screening. Zebra Technologies and VitalTech each unveiled digital health efforts last week that focus on employee proximity and contact tracing, and on at-home symptom checking, respectively.

ON THE RECORD

“For more than 13 years, Fitbit has been working with employers to provide accessible and engaging solutions for employees to improve their health. As workplaces start to reopen, we have an opportunity to help employees better track their health and make informed decisions about whether or not to go to work,” Amy McDonough, general manager and SVP for Fitbit Health Solutions, said in a statement. “Early action is key to protecting the workforce and the workplace. Ready for Work enables employees to view trends in their Fitbit-tracked health metrics next to self-reported symptoms so they can assess their health and readiness for work from home.”

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