The Bristol-Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance and Fitbit announced at the TIME 100 Health Summit in New York that they are working together to help drive timely atrial fibrillation diagnosis with the aim of improving earlier detection in individuals at increased risk of stroke.
The BMS-Pfizer Alliance and Fitbit plan to collaborate on the development of educational content and guidance to support people at increased risk for atrial fibrillation.
Upon submission and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance of the atrial fibrillation detection software on Fitbit devices, the parties will aim to provide users with appropriate information to help encourage and inform discussions with their physicians.
atrial fibrillation is the most common type of irregular heartbeat and is a significant risk factor for stroke. Approximately eight million people in the United States are projected to be affected by atrial fibrillation in 2019. As the population ages, this number is expected to rise, as adults aged 65 and older are at an increased risk of developing the condition. Because atrial fibrillation can be asymptomatic, it can often go undetected, and some studies suggest that more than 25% of people who have the condition find out after they have a stroke.
Wearable technology has continued to become more integrated in the healthcare landscape as people have recognised the value that 24/7 health tracking can have for people of any age or health status, including those at increased risk for specific conditions. Yet, those who use wearables to track their heart rhythm may lack the education or guidance on what to do with the data gathered from their device.
“We’re in a new era of healthcare, where we’re not only focused on developing treatments but also looking at the potential of technology and data to help patients learn more about their health,” said Angela Hwang, Group President, Pfizer Biopharmaceuticals Group. “We are excited about wearables and how our work with BMS and Fitbit may potentially help patients and physicians detect and understand heart rhythm irregularities.”
“At Fitbit, we’re focused on making health more accessible and, through our efforts with the BMS-Pfizer Alliance, we have the potential to support earlier detection of atrial fibrillation, a potentially asymptomatic condition that affects millions of Americans,” said James Park, Co-founder and Chief Executive of Fitbit. “With our continuous, 24/7 on-wrist health tracking capabilities, and our experience delivering personalised, engaging software and services, we believe we can develop content to help bridge the gaps that exist in atrial fibrillation detection, encouraging people to visit their doctor for a prompt diagnosis and potentially reduce their risk of stroke.”
“Too many people discover that they are suffering from atrial fibrillation only after experiencing a stroke. In fact, some studies suggest that this is true for more than 25 percent of people who have the condition,” said Joseph Eid, M.D., Head of Medical Affairs, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “These efforts with Fitbit exemplify not only our unwavering commitment to addressing the evolving needs of patients with atrial fibrillation, but also our dedication to advancing care by embracing technology as a part of routine clinical practice.”