Fitbit poaches digital health VP from Walgreens to realize healthcare vision

During Adam Pellegrini’s three-year tenure at Walgreens, he presided over the largest retail integration of connected devices at Walgreens, according to the news release

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Adam Pellegrini

Walgreens has cultivated quite the digital health ecosystem under Adam Pellegrini so Fitbit’s move to recruit the vice president of digital health is going to leave the retail drugstore chain a bit out-of-pocket. Although some privately expressed surprise by Pellegrini’s decision, it seems like an inevitable move given that there’s so much cross-fertilization in the realm of connected health devices.

Pellegrini’s responsibilities at Fitbit will include helping the company connect its products, information, data and insights in new and innovative ways into clinical settings, according to the news release. He will also focus on developing new partnerships with healthcare systems, insurers and other payers, pharma companies and medical device manufacturers. He is scheduled to start September 6.

“We believe that Fitbit can play a meaningful role in the digital health revolution, and Adam is the ideal person to lead our efforts,” Woody Scal, Fitbit Chief Business Officer, said in the news release. “He brings tremendous experience, leadership and vision to help us further develop and integrate our tools into healthcare, including areas such as behavior change programs, chronic care management, population screening, precision medicine, and remote monitoring for post discharge and care transitions.”

A spokesperson for the company declined to comment beyond the news release.

Fitbit has been pretty clear that it wants to be more than everyone’s generic shorthand for fitness trackers. The wearables developer likes to point out that it has more than 200 clinical studies in various stages of development for conditions ranging from breast cancer and diabetes to heart disease and surgical recovery. Among its collaboration partners are Fitabase and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The company is also intent on growing its employer wellness business.

In a conference call earlier this year discussing its fourth quarter results, Fitbit CFO William Zerella said: “A lot of investment will focus on integration with the health system. That will come more on the software side to guide people to reach their healthcare goals.”

Additionally, Fitbit is interested in opening up new markets to its fitness trackers and healthcare is part of the long-term vision. It is cultivating a market in China and has plans for other countries in Asia.

During Pellegrini’s three-year tenure at Walgreens, he presided over the largest retail integration of connected devices at a retailer, according to the news release. He partnered with many digital health and wearables companies to support its Balance Rewards program. In addition to Fitbit, Walgreens partnered with Jawbone and Lumo Bodytech. He also led a collaboration with Qualcomm Life to create connected device applications for Walgeens’s Bluetooth-enabled blood pressure and blood glucose devices.

“I’m a passionate believer in the power of digital health technology to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and reach of our healthcare system,” Pellegrini said in the news release. “I see a tremendous opportunity for healthcare providers, health plans and pharmaceutical companies to foster a more proactive, consumer-centric approach to healthcare using Fitbit’s products, software, services and extraordinary health brand.”

Photo: LinkedIn