October 17, 2019 / 3:17 PM / a month ago

Fitbit in healthcare partnership to take on Apple Watch

FILE PHOTO: The ticker symbol for Fitbit is displayed at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) - Fitbit Inc (FIT.N) is developing a method to detect irregular heart rhythm in time through a partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance, as the wearable device maker looks to match a feature available on rival Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) Watch.

Fitbit has been pushing deeper into the healthcare space and in August tied up with the Singapore government to provide fitness trackers and services in a health program that the company said could reach up to one million users. (reut.rs/2TWAkpG)

Under Thursday’s deal, the company’s devices will carry software that will help detect atrial fibrillation - the most common type of irregular heartbeat - after approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Atrial fibrillation is a condition associated with irregular heart rhythm that increases the risk of stroke and is usually prevalent among people above 65 years of age.

About 2.7 million to 6 million people suffer from the condition in the United States, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention.

Reporting by Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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