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Can Your Fitbit Save Your Life?

By Jeff Arnold, CEO and Chairman

Earlier this month, an article in the medical journal Annals of Emergency Medicine detailed a patient’s visit to the emergency room at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center – part of Trinity Health, one of Sharecare’s partners and investors – in which hospital staff determined his course of treatment based on information they gathered from his Fitbit. In this case, the patient had just suffered a seizure when staff noticed he was wearing the device, which includes a heart rate monitor. After accessing the data on the patient’s smartphone – specifically his baseline pulse and “an immediate persistent increase [in pulse rate]… at the approximate time of the patient’s seizure” – the Lourdes’ team performed a likely life-saving procedure.

Besides this being very good news for the patient in question, we may look back on this moment as a milestone in digital health. As tech blog Gizmodo notes, while these devices are by no means medical grade yet, this incident shows that the real potential these devices hold lies in the data they collect and how that data is applied.