Saturday, July 13, 2024

Easier access to heart data for healthcare partners

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As a cardiologist, the heart is a marvel to me. It’s the hardest-working muscle in your body, pumping about 2,000 gallons of blood and beating an average of 100,000 times a day. But sometimes it quietly slips into an irregular rhythm called atrial fibrillation (or Afib), a condition that affects more than 59 million people globally and increases the risk of stroke five fold.

With today’s technology, you can more easily look out for signs of Afib in your everyday life. Many Fitbit and Pixel devices can analyze your heart rhythm while you’re still or sleeping. And with features like Irregular Rhythm Notifications (IRN), if they detect an irregular pattern, they can send you an alert. To date, nearly 10 million people around the world have opted into the Irregular Rhythm Notifications feature.

Previously, it was up to you to export and share your Afib data separately with healthcare providers. Now, with your consent, healthcare partners like doctors, nurses and health researchers can access your Afib data through a secure connection within the Fitbit Web API.

More proactive care

Similar to the range of data, or “endpoints,” already available within the Fitbit Web API, these first-of-their-kind Afib endpoints don’t require healthcare partners to build their own app for data exchange. As a result, they can more easily use the data from Fitbit devices on both iOS and Android in patient care and research.

In practice, the availability of these new endpoints means that people can get more proactive support when it comes to their health. For example:

  • A hospital can incorporate this data into a heart health program. When a patient receives an Irregular Rhythm Notification, the hospital can set up appropriate testing such as event monitors and echocardiograms to make a formal diagnosis and look for underlying issues.
  • A health plan can develop a population health program for large groups of people at risk for Afib. This supports early detection and treatment, which can improve risk stratification to help prevent strokes. An independent analysis in JAMA found this approach to be cost-effective, particularly with devices priced at $150 or less.
  • Researchers can incorporate this data into studies, making it easier to understand the impact of Irregular Rhythm Notifications on outcomes.

This technology has the potential to put heart health into everyone’s hands: Users can take charge of their own wellbeing, and healthcare providers gain tools to create comprehensive care programs and improve health outcomes.

If you’re a patient or a member of a health organization using the new IRN endpoints, keep an eye on your Fitbit app for a notification inviting you to share your data.



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