- Global wearables firm Fitbit, Inc. has acquired Twine Health, a health coaching platform. The firm says the acquisition will provide better health outcomes for users and decrease healthcare costs.
- The new acquisition is aimed at helping users manage chronic conditions, such as such as hypertension and diabetes; make lifestyle changes, including smoking cessation and weight loss; and allow all the parties involved in someone’s health, including providers, coaches and families, to collaborate on care plans.
- The move sets to place Fitbit firmly in the employee health management space, which it had been hinting toward for some time with its business health division. Dr. John Moore, co-founder and CEO of Twine Health, will be Fitbit's medical director and Twine Health's team will join Fitbit's Health Solutions group.
Fitbit, a big name in the wearables industry, looks to be expanding further into an increasingly popular (and more involved) form of employee wellness programs, akin to onsite clinics. Acquisition has been a popular way of expanding a tech company's core offering lately, especially as the field reaches saturation.
The combination of a wearable and a focus on health management could bring results, if employers play their cards right. More employees are expecting their benefits offerings to be personalized to their experience; a wearable could easily set a framework to allow that personalization. But employers must ensure they have a strong data management protocol in place for such a program to reach its full potential.
Now more than ever, employers are concerned with the ROI on wellness — and studies have shown that ROI may not always be explicitly lower healthcare costs. It may, instead, come from employees feeling cared for, having access to desired programs and generally being more willing to stick around thanks to a positive relationship with an employer.