You Could Soon Be Able to Send Data from Your Fitbit Straight to Your Doctor
Fitbit announced a partnership with Google Cloud, which could allow your doctor to see health data pulled from the tracker.
Your Fitbit data could soon be used to help you get healthier in a totally new way. In addition to tracking your health stats-your activity level, sleep pattern, and resting heart rate, to name a few-the company announced a plan to help you share that data directly with your doctor.
Earlier this week, Fitbit announced they're teaming up with Google to help you take all those stats you've been gathering and put them to another use. Using Google's Cloud Healthcare API, you'll be able to share your health data with your health care providers. With this, your doctor could get a clearer picture of your overall health and even plug the data directly into your medical records. The idea is that this kind of personalization will lead to better medical care when you do go see your doc. (Related: How to Use Fitbit's New Period Tracker When You're Trying to Conceive)
Doctors say this kind of data sharing could be a serious game-changer. "These fitness data points can help doctors understand body composition, metabolic rates, and sleep depth among other things," says Michael Breus, Ph.D., a board-certified sleep specialist and SleepScore Labs advisory board member.
Think of it like a super-detailed health journal-those data points can help your doctor get insight into what's going on with your body when you're not in their office. It could be especially important for those things you forget to bring up (or don't even realize are worth sharing) during your appointment, like if you haven't been sleeping well or have been really winded during runs lately. (Related: 8 Things Women Should Tell Their Doctors...But Don't)
"We tell patients to journal their health tasks or targets, but if all of the data is automatically recorded, this can be an easy way to track health targets and relate them with outcomes," explains Adeeti Gupta, M.D., founder of Walk In GYN Care.
Some experts believe this data sharing has the potential to change medical care on a much larger scale. "Once we start aggregating these data points, we can start to see trends in specific areas and populations," says Breus. "It would be very valuable data. For example, we could learn about disease outbreaks as they occur."
But wait, if sharing your Facebook data is so controversial, isn't it even more concerning to share your most intimate health data? Though Google's Healthcare API is secure-they're "committed to meeting the requirements for security and privacy in the health care industry" including HIPAA compliance, according to the press release-there's always a risk. (Related: This Is What Your Phone Does with Your Personal Health Data)
At the moment, there's no info on exactly how your Fitbit data will be used and shared, and if you have the choice as to which information is shared, but these are important questions, says Dr. Gupta. "If the patient is okay with the privacy issues of sharing their health stats on the Cloud, then this can be a great tool for improving health care outcomes," she says.
And don't worry-your watch isn't sending data without your knowledge. This innovation is still in the early stages, and the capability isn't available on any current Fitbit models. But it sounds like, with this partnership, a totally new way of managing your health is on the horizon.