Diabetes Device Makers Add Training and Virtual Care

Fortunately, companies aren’t just making straight-up gadgets anymore for assisting us manage diabetes. They are increasingly understanding that incorporating health coaches, clinical advisers and teacher insights as part of the bundle make all the difference.

In the end, it is no secret which we PWDs (people with diabetes) spend the majority of our time managing diabetes within our own, out of physician’s office, and D-Businesses are now starting to see that as an opportunity.

This trend has been slowly gaining steam for a while today, with small innovative D-tech companies such as Telcare and Livongo focusing on solutions to go for their devices, as well as big players such as Medtronic making sound about assisting customers “acquire actionable insight” in their own devices. Nowadays, we take a look at some interesting new strategies on this front…

Welkin and Clevertar – Virtual Care

You might have heard that the title Welkin Health, a firm based in San Francisco that provides an app and internet platform for people who have any type of diabetes. They aim to help “bridge the difference between physician visits” by allowing care teams to practically track BG levels, decide if followups are needed and assist navigate any necessary mWelkin Health diabetes appedicaton, diet or service changes.

They provide a mixture of mobile, web, and telephone-based (SMS) coaching programs and are currently working with Humana’s Innovation Group on a system which will “allow coaches and patients to communicate fluidly through the patient’s day.”

“It’s far better to have frequent collaboration versus a person, hour-long assessment every three months,” says Penny Mach, a Certified Diabetes Educator, in this MobiHealth narrative. “The app allows for small pieces of coaching more often.”

In this case, they are especially enthused about the chance to assist older PWDs or any of us who aren’t geographically mobile.

Meanwhile, fresh on the scene would be Australia-based Clevertar, that offers a digital wellness coach service known as My Diabetes Coach, now available in Australia but with aspirations to expand into the U.S. What’s special about this system would be a digital wellness advisor named “Laura” — such as the Siri of all diabetes — that coaches people recently diagnosed with type 2 having an iOS or Android app. Laura offers interactive info about BG observation, drug adherence, nutrition, exercise, and foot care, as well as analyzing sugar readings and sending alerts to a human case supervisor if Clevertar diabetes tabletneed be. Laura is revived and looks fairly good on a tablet computer, we must say.

There’s a related program named Anna Cares being rolled out from hospitals with the aid of Clevertar that is currently in clinical trials at the U.S., but it is not clear if the program will be launched here commercially soon.

Yep, this digital help has turned into the way of the world in diabetes management. While we are all so concerned about what insurers will actually pay for these days, it is going to be intriguing to observe how these companies approach the reimbursement issue.

Hygieia and the D-Nav Bundle

Another approach to offering “training” is making smarter tools which could really recommend what a PWD should do next. Keep in mind the Michigan-based startup known as Hygieia which we wrote about several years ago? The one developing a device known as the D-Nav that’s called a first-of-its-kind “Diabetes Insulin Guidance System,” or DIGS, which functions like a nav system for your vehicle?

It looks like a cross between a small Etch-a-Sketch and also an insulin pump, but in reality it does not have any insulin shipping capability (nor will you draw it). It’s actually an integrated sugar meter and insulin dosing calculator which uses its own test strips then shows a blood sugar reading after five minutes. The device calculates just how much insulin you would need depending on the studying, and any food or correction bolus necessary. Right now, to use it you will need a connector cable to automatically upload information to your pc.

Hygieia is aiming mostly in type 2 patients, even though D-Nav can be employed by anybody with diabetes and btw it is already accepted and in use abroad.

This little firm’s also been making headlines for bringing on several well-known titles in the diabetes sector:

And surpise… what’s shifted in 2016 is Hygieia’s new aim to address the “full-service picture of diabetes control between physician appointments” using its D-Nav as the focus.

“We’ve moved from being around developing a medical device, and instead we are centered on the delivery of cardiovascular care management,” says Hygieia CEO and also Co-Founder Eran Bashan. “If you look at data of people not managing their diabetes 99.5 percent of cases involve problems with insulin administration. From that business viewpoint, that’s where we see making a difference”

D-Nav users will be offered regular coaching services using a nurse or clinical representative, trained by Hygieia to trainer PWDs on which they may have to do differently depending on the D-Nav data. Bashan tells us those support folks would not necessarily be Hygieia employees, however an outsourced service, performed in a regional CVS Minute Clinic, or perhaps weaved into a clinical practice if chosen. Apparently, they are still working out the information.

And surprise… that is the point where the payers are involved.

According to Bashan, they could save health insurers approximately $100 million annually if each T2 from the state of Michigan began using the D-Nav services. Bashan claims that’s because 50 to 75 percent of the insurance costs for PWDs is currently in healthcare shipping, not medical instruments. Utilizing the D-Nav system with related coaching solutions, he believes those prices can come down 25% per month.

Needless to say, we need to get a thorough look at the bottom device, to judge if PWDs IRL (in real life) will enjoy it and wish to keep on using it.

And the prices for users in the U.S. is still not apparent. In the UK, the system runs roughly $220 a month for the bundle: the D-Nav device and paired coaching solutions, also unlimited evaluation strips (that is a deal right now)   Yep, boundless strips… Bashan says insurers actually do not care how many items you use, since it is all about the end-dollar amount they have to shell out per individual. So if the whole D-Nav bundle is cheap, subsequently Hygieia is prepared to include as many strips as you may need because that does not change the insurer’s bottom line.

Huh. Seems like a productive strategy…

But then, we heard something somewhat concerning: Hygieia has a set up where it can cut off a user from its technology and services if they aren’t doing exactly what the clinical nurses advocate. So for example, if a user is ignoring advice about testing more often or altering insulin levels, they can be removed from the D-Nav program. Wow, punitive! Discuss about carrot and the stick…

However, Bashan adamantly insists which is rare, since most folks will continue to utilize the D-Nav and Hygieia providers economically. As proof he points to some who’ve been using it for decades both in the UK and in clinical research here from the States. About 25% voluntarily shed the system, he says.

Let us be clear the D-Nav device is not yet FDA approved, but the company hopes to submit in the coming calendar year.  

We think it still looks somewhat clunky for a D-device in this day and age, but that’s apparently too being addressed by Hygieia — as Bashan says they are developing a next-gen version which may contain a Bluetooth chip and also sport an improved screen display that looks more like a smartphone.

They are also planning a release later this year of a patient portal site which permits users to see your their sugar and insulin information, as they just have a supplier data portal (Wait, what? How have they not addressed the individual information side yet?) .

Still, it that the D-Nav + coaching is intriguing concept, and may prove to be in the forefront of a tendency among health insurers to support tools which include patient-help services.

Though at this juncture, with carriers making exclusive prices based on discounts from major device manufacturers that restrict patient choice — it is difficult to see their concern over individual well-being. We sure hope it is in there someplace.

Disclaimer: Content Made by the Diabetes Mine team. For additional information click here.


This material is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health site centered on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and does not stick to Healthline’s editorial recommendations. To find out more regarding Healthline’s venture with Diabetes Mine, please click here.

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