Fitbit Versa and Ionic smartwatch owners will now be able to start monitoring serious heart health conditions like atrial fibrillation, thanks to the arrival of a new app.
FibriCheck, a health screening and monitoring app, had until now previously existed as a smartphone application. In its new Fitbit app guise, it'll run on Fitbit's OS and make use of the onboard optical PPG heart rate monitor sensor built into Fitbit's smartwatches to monitor heart rhythm irregularities.
Essential reading: Best Fitbit apps to download first
Readings can be completed in 60 seconds offering color-coded feedback with green indicating no irregularities and red to advise users to seek medical advice.
You can also dig deeper into the data in FibriCheck's smartphone app. Measurements taken from the app can be viewed on the smartwatch screen and can also be shared with medical professionals via FibriCheck's web interface.
The app has been given a CE marking, which means it meets the performance standards for medical devices in the European Union (EU). It also marks the first app with a CE marking to be included in Fitbit's Gallery app store in Europe.
The app is currently validated to offer assessments in the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland.
To get that validation, a clinical trial was conducted with the app running on Fitbit smartwatches. The trial compared the FibriCheck smartwatch app against the the gold-standard 12-lead ECG and single lead ECG tech.
The results suggested that the FibriCheck software was highly accurate in correctly detecting the presence of atrial fibrillation compared to what the ECG results revealed.
The arrival of the FibriCheck app follows news recently that Cardiogram was letting Fitbit owners keep a closer eye on heart health via its platform.
Cardiogram doesn't have regulatory approval, but the startup posits a high enough level of accuracy to detect atrial fibrillation, hypertension, sleep apnea and even early signs of diabetes.
The app is available now for the Versa 2, Versa Lite Edition, Versa and Ionic smartwatches. It can be downloaded from the Fitbit app gallery through the companion smartphone app.
It's available on a subscription model starting at £3.99 a month for the Essential plan and can go up to £10.99 a month for the Premium plan, which sees your results reviewed by experts and personal weekly reports.
There's also a one-day free trial to let you try it out, though we've not managed to get access it to give it a try on our Versa 2 unit.
Fitbit, much like Apple, has made bigger moves into the serious health monitoring space since moving into making smartwatches.
Though, with rumblings of a potential sale on the cards, there is some uncertainty surrounding whether the wearable tech outfit will be here for the long run to continue offering these potentially life-saving apps.
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