Employers and health plans have always had a tough time getting employees and plan members motivated to get healthier. The trick is making them want to do it.
Fitbit, through its wearables and acquired assets, has some compelling tools for moving people toward healthier lifestyles, including wearable devices, data, and services. We spoke with the company’s executives about its plans for an integrated digital health platform back in June. Now Fitbit has bundled the pieces together into an integrated offering it calls Fitbit Care.
Fitbit Care represents Fitbit’s attempt to find more revenues with large employers, health plans, and health providers, rather than having to depend almost entirely on direct-to-consumer sales of fitness trackers and smartwatches. Its Health Solutions business delivers less than 10% of the company’s revenues today (exactly how much less we don’t know), but Fitbit is addressing a real and widespread need to improve health and reduce healthcare costs.
Fitbit Care consists of three main parts:
- Wearables: The first is the wearables that Fitbit has made for a decade now, which track everything from steps to sleep to female health. Caregivers and coaches can use that objective data to better monitor or motivate the employee, plan member, or patient.
- Social tools: The second part is the digital and social tools Fitbit has developed to help keep people moving and motivated. These include fitness challenges, private social groups within Fitbit’s social network, and guided workouts.
- Coaching: Fitbit acquired much of this functionality when it bought Twine Health in February. Now Fitbit can offer either the technical platform for coaching and the coaching itself if the client company wants it. Coaching can happen via an app (the brand new Fitbit Plus app), or via phone or in-person meetings. This approach can be especially effective for things like weight management or tobacco cessation, where accountability to another human being is a key to success. Fitbit says health providers can use the tools to manage chronic (and expensive) conditions like diabetes and congestive heart failure.
“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 Fitbit’s medical director, John Moore, in a statement. “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 Care is sold as a bundled subscription offering–right now mainly to large employers and health plans that want to drive down costs and improve outcomes. The company just announced that one of its current customers, the health insurer Humana, has chosen Fitbit Care as a preferred coaching solution for its employer group segment.