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health plans encourage wearables

Fitbit unveiled a connected wearables health platform on its new Fitbit Plus app Sept. 19, which integrates health coaching, activity tracking and virtual care services to help users manage chronic conditions.

The service, dubbed Fitbit Care, marks the first time Fitbit Health Solutions has made health coaching services available to its customers. Health coaches will collaborate with participants and their care teams through the app, phone calls and in-person meetings to create personalized care plans, which might focus on goals like smoking cessation or managing chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension or congestive heart failure.

Fitbit Care combines the health coaching service — fueled by behavior-change principles developed by Twine Health, a digital health platform Fitbit acquired in February — with the company’s background in wearable technology, which enables users to measure physical activity, sleep and heart rate. The company said Fitbit Plus will also allow users to input metrics like blood glucose, blood pressure and medication adherence, to provide a central location to track health trends.

Fitbit sells most of its flagship wearable products directly to consumers. However, individuals will only have access to Fitbit Plus if a health system, health plan or employer enrolls them in Fitbit Care’s health coaching service, a bundled subscription offering from the wearables brand. Humana has selected Fitbit Care as the preferred health coaching service for its employer group segment to help its members prevent and manage chronic conditions.

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