The wearable technology company Fitbit, known for its ubiquitous fitness-tracking bracelets, announced on Tuesday that it was acquiring Twine Health, a cloud-based health coaching platform designed to help employers manage chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension in the workplace and aid employees in lifestyle changes such as weight loss and smoking cessation. The company describes the move as an expansion into the workplace wellness space:
With this acquisition, Fitbit further extends its reach into healthcare and lays the foundation to expand its offerings to health plans, health systems and self-insured employers, while creating opportunities to increase subscription-based revenue. The acquisition will combine the power of the Fitbit platform to drive lasting behavior change with Twine Health’s clinical expertise and proven ability to help patients better manage their care through a highly scalable platform and coaching model. In the longer term, Fitbit will have the opportunity to extend the benefits of the Twine platform to its more than 25 million users and expand into new condition areas.
As the leading manufacturer of fitness tracking devices, Fitbit was already a significant figure in the growing drive to incorporate these technologies into workplace wellness programs by collecting employee health and fitness data and using it to target interventions. The company has been sharpening its focus on this market for some time now, Paul Sawers observes at VentureBeat:
Fitbit may be better known as a consumer technology brand, but it has long partnered with big businesses, including BP, Barclays, and Target, which have sought to encourage employee fitness by giving workers activity trackers for free. This effort has been underpinned by gamification of various aspects of companies’ health-promotion programs.
Fitbit had made around five acquisitions before now, including a startup called Switch2Health that developed a wellness platform for tracking employees’ fitness efforts and rewarding them for maintaining healthy levels of activity. So it’s clear Fitbit has seen the potential of the business market for some time, and this latest deal fits neatly into that scheme.