Fitbit launches bring-your-own-device program for the NIH’s All of Us megastudy

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A second All of Us initiative planned for later this year will provide up to 10,000 Fitbit devices to participants. (Fitbit)

Fitbit and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have launched a bring-your-own-device project for participants in the All of Us research program, with its first foray into wearables and digital health technology being led by Scripps Research.

Fitbit users that are currently enrolled in the Precision Medicine Initiative program can now sync their accounts and share their data with NIH researchers, including readouts of physical activity, heart rate, sleep quality and health outcomes. The device will not be required to participate.

The All of Us program launched nationwide in May 2018 with the goal of enrolling at least one million people. It aims to support a wide range of studies by building one of the largest and most diverse datasets based on individual lifestyles, environmental factors and genetics. Participants will share different types of health information through surveys, electronic medical records, biological samples and digital health tracking.

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“Collecting real-world, real-time data through digital technologies will become a fundamental part of the program,” Eric Dishman, director of the All of Us program, said in a statement.

“This information in combination with many other data types will give us an unprecedented ability to better understand the impact of lifestyle and environment on health outcomes and, ultimately, develop better strategies for keeping people healthy in a very precise, individualized way,” Dishman said.

RELATED: NIH recruits Fitbit for Precision Medicine Initiative program

A second All of Us research initiative using Fitbit devices is planned for later this year, and involves providing up to 10,000 devices to randomly invited participants. That study, conducted by the Scripps Research Translational Institute, will explore relationships between indicators such as physical activity, heart rate and sleep with other critical health outcomes.

Scripps is spearheading the program’s digital health effort, and previously selected Fitbit as All of Us’ first wearable in 2017. According to Fitbit, its devices are the most commonly used tracker in biomedical research, based on more than 675 published studies and additional registrations on Clinicaltrials.gov.