The Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) Pfizer Alliance has teamed up with Fitbit to improve the detection of atrial fibrillation (AF).
Announced at the TIME 100 Health Summit in New York, the two organisations are aiming to drive the timely diagnosis of AF for individuals at increased risk of stroke.
Fitbit and the BMS-Pfizer Alliance will develop educational content and guidance to support people at increased risk of AF. Fitbit plans to use its AF detection software on Fitbit devices – following FDA approval – to provide users with appropriate information to encourage them to discuss any problems with their physician.
Angela Hwang, group president, Pfizer Biopharmaceuticals Group, said: “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. 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.”
Around eight million people in the US are estimated to be affected by AF, which is the most common type of irregular heartbeat and a significant risk factor for stroke. The condition can often go undetected with some people only finding out about it after they have a stroke.
James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit, said: “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. 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.”
Joseph Eid, head of medical affairs, Bristol-Myers Squibb, added: “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% of people who have the condition. 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.”