FitBit continues to surprise with Flow and Sleep

In a rare double whammy update, FitBit has obtained Emergency Use Authorisation from the U.S FDA to address needs that have come up due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, AND released data on how Kiwis behaved over lockdown.

Fitbit Flow

As a digital health company with deep expertise in advanced sensor technology, signal processing, algorithms, hardware development, manufacturing and supply chain logistics, Fitbit saw the opportunity to help and respond quickly to an urgent need. Designed by Fitbit, engineers and researchers with valuable input during development and testing from emergency medicine clinicians caring for COVID-19 patients from OHSU Hospital and the MassGeneralBrigham Center for COVID Innovation working group on the needs of practitioners and, in particular, toward our still evolving understanding of the needs for patients with COVID-19.

It is designed to be intuitive and simple to use, potentially helping to reduce the strain on highly specialized staff who are typically needed to operate a commercial ventilator.  Fitbit aims to leverage the company’s vast infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities that currently produce millions of Fitbit devices per year to produce large volumes of resuscitators quickly.  Fitbit is in talks with state and federal agencies to understand needs and plans to work with U.S. and global aid organizations as well, both today and ahead of any future waves of the virus.  

The goal is to support not only the current need for devices, but to make sure that we are prepared for any future recurrence of the virus as well.

Sleepy Kiwis

Based on local data from New Zealand there are three key health trends that are clear to us. Kiwis were upping their snooze time (even more so than the rest of the world!), Kiwis were embracing the home workout life and Kiwis were feeling more calm than most corners of globe.   

As we ease back into normal life, nobody can deny that ‘How was your lockdown?’ has become the new ‘water cooler’ conversation. It’s natural to reflect on what we’ve learnt and why we feel the way we do! So when we compare the baseline data in January-February compared to March-April, it’s very interesting to identify that New Zealand’s high level findings revealed three key lockdown trends.

  1. Sleep Duration Increase:  New Zealand came out significantly on top for highest level of lockdown sleep in the world. We by far exceeded Europe, Australia, Asia Pacific and North America. Could this be a reflection on the way our country has approached lockdown? Is it the Kiwi way to simply say, ‘she’ll be right’ and have a good sleep in?  

  2. Resting Heart Rate Decrease: New Zealand’s RHR has dropped significantly in comparison to other countries, including the likes of Australia, Great Britain and the United States of America – this could indicate a number of things. Although many of us felt tired and anxious, it seems in comparison to elsewhere, our hearts were thanking us for slowing down. Were New Zealanders calmer whilst working from home? Was our PM’s response of ‘Go hard, Go early’ creating a sense of ease and safety? Were we simply feeling calmer being around loved ones far more often?

  3. Active Zone Minutes Increase: Our traditional step count decreased but our Active Zone Minutes (AZM) have increased. AZMs indicate heart rate increasing for a continued period of time i.e  if you were on a treadmill getting your heart pumping and sweat on. Due to cutting out daily tasks, walks to work etc, step count was inevitably going to decrease (even if we were walking the dog once a day!), however, the data shows New Zealander’s AZM during the lockdown months had increased. Although we felt like we slacked off, the stats are talking, and it looks like cutting out walking and daily tasks left time for home workouts, runs, and more spouts of short but intense exercise. 

Fitbit’s blog post discussing the data, can be found here.

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