Fitbit health data help doctors diagnose patient in medical first

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On Jan. 5, a man checked into a hospital’s emergency room in Camden, New Jersey. Because his heart was beating irregularly, doctors suspected he had atrial fibrillation, the most common type of arrhythmia, which can increase the risk of stroke. But to decide how to treat him, they needed to know exactly how long his heart had been acting up.

That’s when one of the physicians noticed a Fitbit Charge HR on the patient’s wrist — and it had the answers they were looking for.

Activity trackers like Fitbits aren’t medical devices, but because they constantly capture enormous volumes of biometric data, medical providers are increasingly finding that, in some situations, they can be useful. The Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center doctors who recently treated the patient with heart problems wrote about their experience in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

The doctors believe that this is the first time that activity-tracker data has been used in medical decision-making and reported in a scientific journal. It was an eye-opening experience for Dr. Al Sacchetti, the hospital’s chief of emergency services and a co-author of the case report.

Read full, original post: This Man’s Fitbit Data Got Him The Medical Care He Needed

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