Babylon Health is getting behind Fitbits in a big way. The London-based digital-first healthcare provider is giving the popular activity trackers to a select number of its around 20 million members in 15 countries. While Babylon hasn’t laid out the criteria for receiving a Fitbit — other than to say their goal is to “improve accessibility” — there’s a more than fair chance that this will benefit underserved communities. Since launching in the UK in 2013, Babylon has expanded to several countries that the World Health Organization (WHO) cites as having some of the world’s lowest-ranking healthcare systems, including Rwanda, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Laos.

Babylon’s Global Chief Medical Officer Darshak Sanghavi says of the initiative, “We’re providing at-risk and traditionally underserved populations, like those living with diabetes in rural areas, with helpful monitoring and the partnership of an industry-leading digital platform and human care team to help them manage their health via our 24/7 care…. We’re giving patients access to tools that will provide an engaging and enjoyable way to better engage in their own health… another example of our mission to provide affordable and accessible care.”

The need to manage diabetes that Sanghavi speaks of is a rising global issue. According to the WHO, diabetes was directly responsible for the deaths of around 1.5 million people in 2019. And the prevalence of diabetes rises more rapidly in lower-income countries than it does in higher-income ones. The WHO cites diabetes as one of the leading causes of kidney failure and says that adults with diabetes have 2 to 3 times the increased risk of strokes and heart attacks compared to people without diabetes. Both prevention and management of diabetes are made easier with some help from wearables and digital healthcare.

Increasingly more than just a simple activity tracker, Fitbit has a number of stand-alone healthcare features that are impressive in their own rights. For example, the Fitbit Sense helps wearers to monitor stress by measuring skin temperature, breathing rate, heart rate variability, and oxygen saturation. Offering a stress management score based on its readings. Now more people can pair Fitbit’s power with Babylon’s MyHealth app to enjoy a high level of digital healthcare management. Using data collected by wearables, Babylon’s app helps users with insights into blood sugar levels, sleep patterns, blood pressure, maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI), and more. And now this pairing of digital health powers will reach more people around the world.