A new app called “Corona-Datenspende” (“Corona Data Donation”) presented by the German Robert Koch Institute (RKI) provides information on the distribution of the coronavirus in Germany. Users of the app, which is only available in the German app stores, voluntarily share selected health data that will help RKI scientists to gain insights into how to fight the virus. A prerequisite for the data donation is the possession of a wearable or a Smartwatch from various manufacturers.

Garmin supports the initiative and encourages its users to provide their vital data voluntarily. According to its own privacy policy, the company will not share or release any user data itself – each user decides whether to share data. The data will be transmitted to the RKI fully encrypted and anonymously.

“We are in a position where we can contribute to the containment of the Covid-19 pandemic in Germany with our products. Therefore, it is a natural thing for us to draw attention to the possibilities of the Robert Koch Institute’s app and to call on Garmin users to actively support the initiative,” said Kai Tutschke, managing director of Garmin Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Many Garmin wearables have a pulse oximeter to measure the oxygen saturation and the breathing of the wearer. These models also provide necessary information on resting pulse, sleep and activity level - parameters that can be very interesting for health studies.

“Wearables are consumer goods and not medical products, yet the data provided by the devices can provide important information,” explains Jörn Watzke, senior director Garmin Health global business development. “Many of our smartwatches are so technical that they can analyze a whole range of parameters that can be used to measure the wearer’s physical health and thus provide complementary information about the effectiveness of Covid-19 measures.” With its Health division, Garmin intends to improve people’s health by developing world-class devices, providing a networked ecosystem and developing software products that enable the detection and treatment of significant diseases.

The Robert Koch Institute developed the app together with an e-health company called Thryve that has been an application programming interface partner of Garmin since 2017. The app is available for iOS and Android devices. Besides Garmin devices, the app currently supports all devices connected via GoogleFit and AppleHealth as well as devices from Fitbit, Polar and Withings/Nokia. According to the RKI, the integration of further devices is on the way, but not all manufacturers of fitness wristbands and smartwatches offer the possibility to transfer data digitally to other services such as the data donation app.

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Source: Robert Koch Institut