May 27, 2018

Fitbit and Google Team Up to Link User Data With Medical Records

02 May 2018, 01:41 | Sam Montgomery

Fitbit and Google team to use machine learning on your fitness data

Fitbit will use Google Cloud to make its data available to doctors

Through the partnership, the duo will also look to help better manage chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension by using services such as Fitbit's recent acquisition of Twine Health. In its earliest stages, Google partnered with medical facilities like the Stanford School of Medicine, so a deal with Fitbit should prove a solid step toward mainstreaming its offering.

What Is Google Cloud Healthcare API?

By uniting clinical and patient-generated data, Fitbit is following the trend of patient-driven information exchange led, in part, by Apple. The collaboration also means Fitbit will bypass the need to create its own API to track its health-oriented apps and monitors, as Cloud Healthcare API is already complaint to the US' Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). The company today said it is collaborating with Google to push health data generated by its fitness trackers to the cloud where medical professionals can put it to work. This would make it easier for physicians to learn more about a patient and provide more personalized treatment by using the data collected by the patient's Fitbit device. Notably, Fitbit (NYSE: FIT) stock skyrocketed by 10 percent on Monday following the company announcement of a health-care collaboration with Alphabet's Google.

Fitbit and Google have announced a new partnership to bring health and fitness data to doctors and healthcare services. And if some future Fitbit health applications fall under the umbrella of what the FDA deems SaMD products, Teppler worries about potential patient safety concerns.

"At Google, our vision is to transform the way health information is organized and made useful", Google Cloud Vice President of Healthcare Gregory Moore said in a statement. The API and Cloud Platform are HIPAA compliant. This, in turn, will give the doctors the access to patient health activity along with the medical conditions.

The wearable fitness tracking device has always been associated with tracking fitness and physical activity. The attackers also reportedly had access to customer data, including Global Positioning System history, which shows where a person regularly runs or cycles, as well as data showing what time a person usually goes to sleep (see Fitbit Hack: What are the Lessons?).

Neither Fitbit nor Google immediately responded to Information Security Media Group's requests for comment.

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