Boston-based Partners HealthCare and its Center for Connected Health recently announced plans to expand its connected fitness program, Partners Step It Up, to six Boston public schools this years. The healthcare system made the announcement at a visit to one of the schools with US HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The expansion builds on a pilot launch of the program at Oliver Wendell Holmes Elementary School in Dorchester.
Here’s how the program works: Partners provides wireless pedometers, which they call “sneaker chips” to 350 third and fourth grade students at the six schools. These sneaker chips clip onto to the kids’ shoes and they track the number of steps taken and number of minutes of activity for each student. (Partners stressed in its announcement that the chips do not track the location of the student.) When students walk near a “designated computer hub” located somewhere in the school, the data is wireless uploaded. (Sort of like FitBit’s model for data upload.)