Two pharma giants, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer have announced that they are working with Fitbit as an alliance to help drive timely diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (AFib).

The partnership aims to improve earlier detection in individuals at increased risk of stroke, and plans to collaborate on the development of educational content and guidance to support people at increased risk for AFib.

The AFib software needs US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance before the project can continued, but on completion the parties will aim to provide users with appropriate information to help encourage and inform discussions with their physicians.

“We’re in a new era of healthcare, where we’re not only focused on developing treatments but also looking at the potential of technology and data to help patients learn more about their health,” said Angela Hwang, group president, Pfizer Biopharmaceuticals Group.

She continued, “We are excited about wearables and how our work with BMS and Fitbit may potentially help patients and physicians detect and understand heart rhythm irregularities.”

AFib is the most common type of irregular heartbeat and is a significant risk factor for stroke. Because it can be asymptomatic, it can often go undetected, and some studies suggest that more than 25% of people who have the condition find out after they have a stroke.

The pre-existing Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer Alliance is committed to driving education and awareness about atrial fibrillation and venous thromboembolism. Through collaborations with non-profit organisations, the Alliance aims to provide patients, physicians, and decision makers with the information they need to understand and take appropriate action on risk factors associated with stroke and other cardiovascular conditions.