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StarHub links up patients, doctors with Fitbit data

Singapore telco introduces a mobile service that lets users share access to their Fitbit data and enable a network of caregivers, including family doctors and healthcare institutions, to support their healthcare management.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor on

StarHub has introduced a mobile service that lets users share access to their Fitbit data and enable a network of caregivers to support their healthcare management. The Singapore telco says it will let the first 300 eligible patients access the service for free, for the first year, before the monthly subscription fee kicks in.

It also roped in Alexandra Hospital as a partner on the platform, connecting the hospital's health coaches to provide personalised healthcare plans encompassing lifestyle and dietary recommendations. 

In addition, the healthcare institution would onboard its own metabolic clinic patients to help prevent diseases from escalating into complex chronic illnesses, StarHub said Friday. 

Called LifeHub+, the telco's new cloud-based service would be offered free to doctors, while patients would have to subscribe to a plan through their healthcare providers at SG$9.99 ($6.91) per month. 

As the first batch of 300 users to tap the service, StarHub said these LifeHub+ subscribers would would a Fitbit device and access to the monthly plan at no cost for the first 12 months. 

More than 30 GPs (General Practitioners) also had expressed interest through Alexandra Hospital to participate in the new service, the telco said. Located in the western part of Singapore, the hospital also would serve as a referring healthcare institution for the mobile service. 

LifeHub+ subscribers can opt to share their personal Fitbit information through the app and receive health scores, data alerts, and metrics. These aim to provide users insights on their health and facilitate daily monitoring and improvement. For instance, the app can be programmed to trigger alerts during the day, reminding users to exercise, take their medication, or schedule a medical checkup. 

Subscribers also can choose to provide access to a selected healthcare network comprising their family doctor or GP, a health coach from Alexandra Hospital, other caregivers, as well as doctors from other healthcare institutions. 

The initial 300 patients with preventable chronic health risks would have their wellness activities and certain metrics monitored by the GPs and health coaches, enabling the selected healthcare team to offer the first line of care, StarHub said. Users would be able to choose what Fitbit data to share, such as sleep patterns, heart rate, skin temperature variation, and oxygen saturation. These datasets are integrated with the StarHub app via the public WebAPI.

Patients also can share other information from other third-party devices, such as blood pressure and blood glucose levels, and integrate these with the LifeHub+ app to generate a wellness score. 

StarHub said data access would be facilitated via a "dedicated secure" dashboard on the LifeHub+ app. 

Asked for more details on how the platform and data were protected, StarHub told ZDNET that no healthcare information would be stored on its app. Instead, all healthcare data would be hosted on its partner, ConnectedLife's "secured servers". 

Only data to which users granted access would be shared with and made available to the relevant parties, such as their designated GPs, StarHub added. 

Singapore-based healthcare tech vendor, ConnectedLife, said its ConnectedCare platform was designed to provide patients with chronic conditions, such as metabolic conditions including diabetes and hypertension, cardiovascular conditions, and infectious diseases.

With its platforms rolled out in global markets such as the UK, Indonesia, and India, ConnectedLife said it has been certified with Singapore's Data Protection Trustmark and complies with the US Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) and EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

According to StarHub, the GP or Alexandra Hospital's health coach receiving the patient's data can use the insights to manage and support primary care delivery, curating a lifestyle for patients who are at-risk or have simple chronic health conditions, such as obesity and high cholesterol. 

The Singapore telco told ZDNET clinicians who were keen to participate in LifeHub+ could sign up for its website, after which they would be contacted for verification. "Once successfully registered, they will receive a unique clinician code that can be shared with their patients as necessary," StarHub said. "This code allows patients to subscribe to LifeHub+ at SG$9.99 monthly or SG$99.99 annually."

Registered medical practitioners then would have access to the platform and dashboard, from which to monitor patient data as well as schedule medical intake and other recommendations, such exercise routine.

StarHub said it would integrate future features developed by ConnectedLife with LifeHub+, including disease risk assessment tools. 

Alexandra Hospital CEO Jason Phua said: "The digital health revolution has arrived. Wearable health trackers that are linked to health and care teams in the hospital and the community can help empower users to proactively manage their chronic conditions before deterioration."

StarHub's consumer business group chief Johan Buse added: "With LifeHub+, clinicians can access the latest health data and evaluate their patients' wellness quickly and accurately, and intervene early when they discover risk factors. Besides guiding users to lead healthier lives, we are enriching community support in a digital ecosystem, bridging family doctors, hospitals, and patients' family members to deliver integrated proactive care."

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