Verily's Onduo is teaming up with Google-owned Fitbit in a new collaboration to provide wearable devices to support users' chronic condition management and overall health and wellness.
It marks the first official collaboration between Onduo, a virtual clinic housed within Alphabet's life sciences arm Verily, with wearable giant Fitbit, which Google officially acquired in January.
Through the partnership, Onduo, which supports people managing one or more chronic health conditions like diabetes, hypertension or mental health conditions, will offer Fitbit devices and Fitbit Premium as part of the company’s approach to whole-person health, the companies announced Thursday.
The partnership will give Onduo members access to a more comprehensive view of how all aspects of their health and well-being fit together, including activity, sleep and stress, to help participants better manage their health and build a routine that works for them, Onduo executives said.
Initially launched as a diabetes-focused joint venture between the since-divorced Verily and Sanofi, Onduo's virtual clinic has expanded its reach into multiple chronic conditions, with new personal coaching programs for Type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, weight loss, high blood pressure and mental wellness. In May, Onduo launched digital services geared toward mental and behavioral health. This latest evolution brings it a step closer to its goals of delivering whole-person care through a single telehealth app, Fierce MedTech's Conor Hale reported.
“With a mission to help people get healthier, Fitbit helps users manage their holistic health and wellness, making them a perfect complement to our whole-person health promise,” said Vindell Washington, M.D. CEO of Onduo, in a statement. “Together with Fitbit, we’ll be able to better support condition-specific management and our members' overall health and wellness by providing new tools and actionable guidance to support their health journeys. For example, in using Fitbit Onduo members will receive Fitbit insights like how increased activity can decrease resting heart rate—and they will be able to proactively engage in the management of their activity, sleep and nutrition.”
The Fitbit offering will be available to eligible members who enroll in an Onduo program supported through their employer and will receive a Fitbit Inspire 2 device and access to Fitbit Premium, which offers guided programs, personalized insights and advanced analytics about health and wellness, more than 500 workouts and mindfulness and nutrition content.
The announcement follows the launch of Onduo’s multicondition platform with Spanish language support in early 2021 and recent data presented at ADA 2021 demonstrating that Onduo members with Type-2 diabetes sustained their reduction in A1c at 12 months.
“As we continue to expand Fitbit’s work with companies like Onduo, there is tremendous opportunity to help people make even bigger improvements in their health and wellbeing and support condition management,” said Amy McDonough, managing director and general manager, Fitbit Health Solutions, at Google.
“For more than 14 years, research has shown and we’ve seen firsthand how our tools can help people make lasting behavior changes, provide motivation to achieve goals and help improve outcomes in conditions like diabetes, prediabetes and hypertension. With Onduo, we hope to bring these benefits to even more users to improve their health and wellness," McDonough said.
Fitbit has been pushing deeper into healthcare by positioning its wearables as devices that can help track medical conditions, such as catching the signs of irregular heart rhythms. In August, the wearables giant inked a deal with LifeScan to integrate its health tracking apps with the company's glucose monitoring devices to help patients with diabetes management.
Recent studies have shown that adding the use of Fitbit devices and services to existing health and wellness interventions can help improve outcomes.
The collaboration comes as rumors swirl that Verily is working to detach itself from Google’s technology and possibly move outside its parent company.
The project, internally named Flywheel, is Verily's plan to be more independent in the work it does as the company matures, Insider reported, citing internal documents and two employees directly familiar with the plans. Specifically, the life sciences company is looking to move its products from Google’s computing infrastructure and internal cloud software to a public version available to other businesses, Insider's Hugh Langley reported.
Verily could be moving toward an initial public offering. CEO Andy Conrad has in the past talked about a push toward an IPO, current and former employees told Insider, but the COVID-19 pandemic may have delayed those plans.