When Your Activity Tracker Becomes a Personal Medical Device

Fitbit spent its first decade selling activity trackers. With its latest moves, the company is starting to look little like a gear maker selling pricey supplementaries to fitness devotees and more like a medical-device companionship, gratifying to infirmaries, patients, and health insurers. The company’s business-to-business limb, announced Health Solutions, is now addressing four health conditions–sleep agitations including sleep apnea, diabetes, cardiovascular state and mental health–for boss, state insurers, healthcare providers, and researchers.

Fitbit has deals with insurers like UnitedHealthcare, which pays its consumers up to $1,500 a year for making step-count destinations. United has done years of research to calculate its return on these payouts, says Fitbit CEO James Park. “The business models are ultimately catching up to the data “weve been” collecting.” The next stagecoach is to add in heart rate data, he says.

Fitbit’s newest product, the Ionic smartwatch, exerts a blood-oxygen sensor to screen for sleep apnea and spy a type of center arrhythmia. The fellowship has completed clinical contests on the use cases and will submit them to the US Food and Drug Administration for approval. If it receives acceptance, Fitbits could oust expensive chest patch examining to perform initial screenings for atrial fibrillation on some patients, Park says. The company’s data has been popular with cancer investigates.

There are plenty of reasons behind the company’s transition: For one, Fitbit will always combat high-pitched cessation frequencies.( “Fitbit? More like Quitbit, ” The Atlantic formerly quipped .) Fitbit’s sales of fitness trackers, and in turn, its inventory cost, have reflected that fatigue; receipt descended 22% last-place one-quarter and its furnish is selling at a 77% discount to its opening cost in 2014. But most important, the company needs to differentiate its offerings from the Apple Watch, which debuted in 2015 and has studies that address some of the same ranges Fitbit is chasing. Fitbit beat Apple in the third quarter to its implementation of designs sent, taking 13.7% of the market, according to IDC. Apple, which took 10.3% of the market, experienced a dramatic increase in sales, while Fitbit continues its decline.