Fitbit Data in the EMR?

Posted on November 3, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

People keep telling me they want their Fitbit and other personal device data in their doctors EMR. While it seems reasonable that your doctor would want as much data as possible available to them in the EMR, a whole wave of Fitbit data is unlikely to impact the care your doctor provides you. Your doctor doesn’t have enough time to look at your current chart. When is she going to have time to look through all your Fitbit data?

There likely are times when Fitbit and other health sensor data is going to impact the care you receive and the care provided by a doctor. However, I don’t believe your EHR vendor is going to provide those insights. At best your EHR would be a storage place for that data. I don’t see many EHR vendors doing the work required to turn that outside health sensor data into actionable insights.

Most doctors I know would be happy to have an external system inform them of insights related to your health sensor data. In fact, many would welcome it. David Chou recently blogged about the move to more personalized care and much of that is built on the back of this sensor data. He takes it even further including the system reminding you to order a low calorie diet when your GPS shows you visiting a fast food restaurant. Will EHR software do that? I don’t think so.

I guess you could summarize my view on health sensor data in that I’m bullish on the potential of what all this health sensor data can do for a person’s health, but I’m bearish on the EMR being the software that does it. The EMR might play a role in presenting the insights to the doctor, but that doesn’t require the EMR to have all the data. They just become a communication pathway. What do you think?