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Fitbit to equip NASA employees with wearables to check Covid-19

Fitbit to equip NASA employees with wearables to check Covid-19

Health indicators from wearables shown to identify flu-like illnesses before symptoms emerge

Fitbit is equipping NASA employees with wearable devices as part of a pilot programme to stem the spread of Covid-19.

As part of the programme, 1,000 NASA employees at six locations across the US will receive Fitbit Charge devices and access to Fitbit’s in-app Daily Check-In feature. Daily Check-In allows users to log their symptoms and temperature, track various health metrics, and receive summarized Covid-19 guidance based on CDC guidelines.

The list includes 150 astronauts and NASA employees involved in future space missions who will use the Fitbit platform as part of the NASA Health Stabilization Programme, which is aimed at mitigating the risk of occurrence of infectious disease among astronaut flight crews in the immediate preflight period.

Emerging evidence indicates that resting heart rate data and other key health indicators from wearables have the potential to identify flu-like illnesses such as Covid-19 before symptoms emerge. This is important because people can transmit the virus before they realize they have symptoms or when they have no symptoms at all. The Fitbit Ready for Work Daily Check-In feature allows users to view various health metrics (resting heart rate, heart rate variability and breathing rate) tracked by their Fitbit device alongside self-reported symptoms, temperature logging and Covid-19 exposure. Based on a user’s daily check-in, the platform will provide NASA employees with daily guidance to help them decide whether to go to work or stay home.

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“The pandemic has underscored the critical role that Fitbit can play in providing much-needed support to help people sleep better, eat better, move more and take control of their health and wellness, as well as the potential to identify illness from specific health metrics, which is especially important now during the Covid-19 crisis,” said Amy McDonough, managing director and general manager, Fitbit Health Solutions at Google.

“We are proud to work with NASA to support its employees and give them access to Fitbit products and services to help them better understand and manage their health and well-being during the pandemic.”

NASA will reportedly evaluate the pilot programme and consider expanding to a larger employee population based on the impact the programme has on helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and in supporting the health and wellness of NASA employees.

Fitbit continues its work to further validate a Fitbit Covid-19 early detection algorithm, including a prospective study with Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research.

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