A week after Apple revealed the Apple Watch Series 4, Fitbit (NYSE: FIT) announced the launch of Fitbit Care, a program that combines the new Fitbit Plus app, Fitbit wearables and health coaching for healthcare plans, employers and health systems. The new program is made possible through Fitbit’s acquisition of Twine Health, a health coaching platform that helps users achieve better health outcomes, ultimately helping employer health programs lower healthcare costs.
“With the introduction of Fitbit Care, we continue to expand our healthcare offerings with a new, bundled subscription offering that can help improve outcomes for some of the most common and costly conditions in healthcare, such as diabetes and hypertension,” said Adam Pellegrini, general manager of Fitbit Health Solutions in a September 19 announcement.
“This unique offering will allow us to better support our 1,600-plus enterprise health customers and the 100-plus health plans that we work with through a comprehensive platform that can help deliver positive, lasting outcomes for their employees and members,” Pellegrini added.
The Fitbit Care platform includes three key components:
Wearables and self-tracking: Through the use of Fitbit devices and the Fitbit Plus app, users can track their fitness activity, heart rate, sleep, food and water intake and female health to better understand their overall health picture and to set and achieve health goals. When used as part of a health program, the healthcare plan, employer or health program can use the data to provide personalized recommendations and care for that specific user.
Personalized digital interventions: With social support tools such as activity challenges and a social feed, Fitbit users can get support from their peers on healthy behavior. For example, users can challenge their peers to weekday (Workweek Hustle) or weekend (Weekend Warrior) walking challenges to see who can get in the most steps. The Fitbit Coach also provides workout suggestions (a 30-minute cardio kickoff, 10-minute warm-up, etc.) to coach users through physical activities.
Health coaching and virtual care: Through Fitbit Health Solutions, Fitbit offers health coaching available to enterprise health customers. Through this program coaches can build connections with participants through the app, phone and in-person meeting to support health goals and manage chronic conditions. Fitbit provides employers with support including marketing collateral, guidance in creating a wellness plan, case studies, white papers and more.
“With Fitbit Care we are delivering a solution that empowers people to take control of their health, by providing the accountability, support, guidance and resources that remove some of the most difficult barriers to behavior change,” said Dr. John Moore, Medical Director, Fitbit Health Solutions in a news release. “Supporting patients beyond the walls of the doctor’s office is one of the most important things we can do to drive successful outcomes, and as a clinician I see great potential for Fitbit Care to help tackle some of the biggest challenges in healthcare and improve health outcomes at scale.”
Fitbit users who use Fitbit Care through their employer or health plan will have access to Fitbit’s new app, Fitbit Plus. This updated app allows individuals to contact their care team and health coach directly to get personalized support. It also provides access to more advanced metrics than the standard Fitbit app, including blood glucose levels, blood press and medication tracking.
Humana Inc. has selected Fitbit Care as its preferred coaching solution. Through the Fitbit-Humana relationship, more than 5 million Humana members have the potential to access Fitbit health coaching. Fitbit and Humana have been partners since 2013.
“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,” said Pellegrini. “For over a decade, Fitbit has empowered millions of people around the world to live healthier lives. Expanding our partnership with Humana allows us to accelerate our common goal of helping more people get and stay healthy, and I’m confident that together we can help drive better health outcomes.”
“Working with Fitbit, we have been able to provide our members with wearable devices, data and insights they can use to achieve their best health and wellness. By adding Fitbit Care’s new health coaching capabilities, we can offer even more personalized, meaningful support to our members who are focused on specific health goals, such as smoking cessation or weight loss, or the management or prevention of chronic conditions,” said Jeff Reid, Humana’s senior vice president of Wellness Solutions. “Fitbit’s intuitive technology and human coaches are powerful tools to engage and motivate members, creating more frequent, convenient touch-points that support our members beyond the walls of a doctor’s office.”
On Monday, September 17, Fitbit stock was valued at $5.45 per share. The day of the announcement – September 19 – stock jumped to $6.11 per share. It has leveled off slightly at $5.94 as of 6:08 p.m. EDT on September 21.
The wearables market remains competitive with Apple, Samsung, Fitbit and other companies creating connected watches. Fitbit has been trying to rebound by focusing on services and subscriptions, and it may have found a winner with this new enterprise-grade program. The trend toward personalized health coaching and wellness and an industry-wide need to control health costs could make Fitbit Care and Fitbit Health Solutions attractive to employers and health plans. Having Humana as an early adopter could set the pace for others to follow.