- Fitbit announced Tuesday it will acquire health coaching platform Twine Health for an undisclosed sum.
- The deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of this year, gives Fitbit a vehicle to expand its tracking devices to healthcare providers while connecting Twine with Fitbit’s legions of users.
- Twine’s HIPAA-compliant platform helps people manage chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, as well as lifestyle modifications such as smoking cessation and weigh loss.
The deal comes as Fitbit has seen sales of its fitness and activity trackers slow. In the first nine months of 2017, revenue dropped 35% to $1 billion, from $1.6 billion during the same period the previous year. With its scalable platform and clinically tested coaching process, Twine could expand Fitbit’s access to physicians and corporate wellness programs.
Fitbit has already been testing the waters in the healthcare market. A recent report in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that having patients use a Fitbit during hospitalization reduced patient readmissions after surgery for metastatic peritoneal cancer.
One hospital is already using Fitbits to help patients recuperate after surgery. Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles recently used the trackers to encourage patients to walk following hip and knee replacement surgery.
Whether their use becomes more widespread in healthcare is anybody’s guess. Doctors are typically skeptical of new technologies and are unlikely to invest without clear clinical evidence of improved outcomes or other benefits.
That caveat applies to technologies like Twine, too. Despite growing support for remote patient monitoring, a recent report in Digital Medicine found little evidence to support claims that they improve patient outcomes.
Still, investors continue to be bullish about RPM, and the Cleveland Clinic included the technology in its list of top 10 medical innovations to watch in 2018.
Under the terms of the acquisition, Twine will become part of Fitbit’s Health Solutions group. Twine co-founder and CEO John Moore will serve as Fitbit’s medical director.