Fitbit to Collaborate With Google

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"Finally, Fitbit and Google are collaborating to bring together the strengths of both companies to innovate and transform the future of wearables", the companies said in a statement, without mentioning any specifics.

The move will allow Fitbit to leverage Google Cloud's infrastructure and advanced security capabilities to help accelerate the Fitbit Health Solutions business and expand deeper into population health analysis, while maintaining Fitbit's commitment to protecting consumer data. Fitbit will use the API to ensure that its data is safely transferred to Google's cloud. It's also unknown exactly which current Fitbit wearables will be compatible with the system or if we'll have to wait until next-generation models are released to gain this new functionality.

Pellegrini did, however, hint at the impact Google's AI and machine learning expertise could have on data collected through these devices and uploaded to a patient's EHR.

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"At Google, our vision is to transform the way health information is organized and made useful", commented Gregory Moore MD, PhD, Vice President, Healthcare, Google Cloud. The aim eventually is to allow doctors to get health data straight from Fitbits on their patients' wrists.

Fitbit announced plans to take advantage of Google's Cloud Healthcare API this morning.

By uniting clinical and patient-generated data, Fitbit is following the trend of patient-driven information exchange led, in part, by Apple.

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Google has announced that it will partner with Fitbit to increase its focus in the healthcare sector. Fitbit and Google also plan to examine how they can use the data to help people manage chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. In terms of partnerships, this one makes sense - if you ignore the concerning data sharing practices. 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?).

Google's cloud data storage platform is largely certified as complying with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), which regulates the use of medical records, which frees Fitbit from having to build its own system that complies with the law.

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