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New Product Aims to Help Businesses Cut Health Care Costs by Tracking Fitness of Employees

“It will definitely be about the data as we move forward."

Image source: Facebook/Jawbone

The company behind one of the latest types of fitness trackers is hoping to cash in by letting your boss know how active you are outside of the office.

Jawbone is aiming to help other companies slash their health care costs with its fitness-tracking wearable devices, similar to FitBits. The difference is Jawbones trackers allow users and their employers to access online dashboards showing the amount of physical activity they're getting.

Image source: Facebook/Jawbone Image source: Facebook/Jawbone

The San Francisco-based business is betting that businesses' upfront expenses — the cost of the devices and rewarding active employees — will pay off in the end by promoting healthy lifestyles among workers, since healthy employees typically cost employers the least in term of health coverage.

Jawbone's "Up for Groups" service, which allows employers to buy the fitness trackers in bulk, is meant for groups of 10 individuals but requires at least five people to sign up before it will calculate metrics in an effort to discourage businesses from singling out individual workers.

Jawbone embarked on a similar venture last year, shelling out $100 million for the purchase of Body Media, a company that manufactures similar technologies which measure how much an individual sweats or how high their body temperature is.

Forbes reported the company might even be looking to sell its health tracking wearables to insurance companies to help coverage providers keep a closer eye on costs, noting the health insurance provider, Cigna, has been doing exactly that to track some enrollee participants who have diabetes.

While tracking employees' physical activity patterns is not a direct way of cutting costs, it can provide businesses with the data they need to do so indirectly. As a result of helping other businesses slash expenses, Jawbone expects it can cash in by providing those services.

As Jawbone Vice President of Product Management Travis Bogard told Forbes during an interview in April, “It will definitely be about the data as we move forward. We’ll see a lot of ways to monetize that.“

(H/T: Forbes)

Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter

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