Fitbit Hopes to Make Healthcare Affordable with New Trackers

Two new wearable devices are designed specifically for employers and health plans.
By: | February 18, 2019 • 2 min read

Fitbit now offers an activity and sleep tracker for employers and health-plan sponsors. The new wearable devices, Fitbit Inspire and Inspire HR, are available for use through either Fitbit Care, an engagement platform designed to help motivate users to reach their health goals, or as standalone activity trackers. If connected to Fitbit Care, employers have access to digital interventions, health coaching, and dashboard and reporting tools to monitor their workforce’s health and wellness journeys.

Some features included with the Fitbit Inspire include activity and sleep tracking, calories burned and reminders to move. The Inspire HR offers additional features such as heart-rate and sleep tracking and real-time pace and distance traveled.

“We have long spoken about the value of our devices for our healthcare partners,” says a Fitbit spokesperson. “Trackers like Inspire and Inspire HR can play an important role in healthcare due to lower price point, cross-platform compatibility, advanced health and fitness features, and a large global network of users. We’ve had great success with enterprise customers via our Health Solutions business and are constantly looking at ways to enhance our offerings for their employees and members.”

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According to Fitbit, low-cost, engaging and innovative tools like fitness trackers may be one solution to help curb the costs of healthcare by helping people make lifestyle and behavior changes necessary to live healthier lives. And we certainly need low-cost options to help address U.S. healthcare costs.

In 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that healthcare spend in the U.S. reached $3.5 trillion or $10,739 per person. As people live longer and chronic diseases continue to impact millions of Americans, healthcare costs will continue to soar.

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“Data and insights from Fitbit devices and software like activity, sleep and heart rate make it easier for people to track progress against their health goals and provide significant value to health plans and employers focused on improving population health among their employee and member populations,”says Fitbit.

Through the Inspire devices and connected health platform, employers will have access to real-time population-level health metrics for an overall picture of program success. Employees’ personal information isn’t shared, except in limited circumstances outlined in Fitbit’s privacy policy, such as at users’ request, which may include users who request their Fitbit data be shared with a health insurer or wellness program. Employees (and other Fitbit consumers) can choose to stop sharing their data at any time.

“Fitbit believes that corporate wellness programs should always be inclusive, voluntary and should protect the privacy of the people they are aimed to serve,” says the Fitbit spokesperson. “We take a proactive approach to talking about data privacy with our wellness customers by providing best practices, including the Fitbit Corporate Wellness Pledge, that articulates our standards for corporate wellness programs.”

Danielle Westermann King, staff writer/digital producer for HRE, received her bachelor’s degree in English from Temple University. She has written and edited articles for various print and online healthcare publications and is now setting her sights on human resources. She can be reached at [email protected]