April 01, 2019
The burden of chronic conditions is well-known: They are prevalent,costly and difficult to manage within the traditional health care system.Nearly one-third of Americans have high blood pressure and nearly 10%have diabetes, yet only 50% have these conditions under control 1, 2. The challenges these people face cannot be overstated. They carry the heavy burden of monitoring their own health every day, but only receive feedback and guidance from their physician every 3 to-4 months.Fortunately, innovative solutions have come to market to solve this challenge. Through the use of state-of-the-art technology, people with chronic conditions now have access to personalized, real-time feedback,making it easier for them to manage their conditions—and prevent unnecessary and costly emergency room visits and hospitalizations. In this issue of Innovative Insights, we focus on two of the most prevalent and costly chronic conditions: heart disease and diabetes.
Ongoing Monitoring with Real Time Feedback
Gone are pencil- and- paper strategies for tracking chronic conditions. New solutions leverage monitors with Bluetooth capabilities to automatically transmit readings into a digital log for the consumer, send out reminders and provide personalized, ongoing real-time feedback. This means that if the numbers are going in the wrong direction, the consumer knows immediately that action is needed.
For heart disease, innovations such as Hello Heart and Livongo are helping patients track and translate their daily blood pressure readings, activity and weight. Depending on the solution, they may also offer the ability to import lab tests and monitor medication adherence. Similar to heart disease, solutions for diabetes, such as Hello Heart, Intuity Medical, Livongo and Welldoc, to name a few, help individuals monitor daily glucose levels, as well as activity and food intake that may impact their readings.
Possibly the most important aspect of the programs is the ongoing support and real-time feedback at the moment it matters most: when readings are too high or low. Through either a coach or FDA-approved algorithms, the new innovations can preempt a possible negative health event by connecting with users and offering immediate, personalized feedback to get their readings back on track. In this way, these solutions are taking the management of chronic conditions into the future and equipping consumers with the health care guidance they need between physician’s visits.
Moving from Diabetes Management to Diabetes Reversal
While improved management of chronic conditions is a noteworthy goal, some solutions are going one step further. Virta Health offers a completely different approach that moves beyond management and instead focuses on “reversing” diabetes. Through a dietary intervention and ongoing work with a health coach, people with diabetes are lowering their A1c levels and being taken off their diabetic medications. Weight loss and lowered blood pressure are other documented benefits of this innovation, which has, in essence, invented a new treatment model.
What do these innovations have in common? Results, as indicated by improved patient engagement and adherence to treatment, and the potential for a significant return on investment. As the field of mobile therapeutics continues to grow, the burden of chronic conditions could become considerably lighter.
About Innovation Insights
Innovation Insights is an e-newsletter published by Business Group on Health to share innovative programs or solutions coming to market to improve employee health and/or the efficiency, delivery or consumer experience within the health care system.