It's been almost a century since researchers discovered a way to treat diabetes. Since then, there have been a number of medical and technological advances that aim to make the lives of people living with diabetes — both type 1 and type 2 — more manageable. Around the globe, diabetes of any type affects 371 million people, a number that's expected to increase to 552 million by 2030.
Diabetes is an incredibly tricky disease that requires constant monitoring and treatment in order to ensure the patient stays happy and healthy. Luckily, from monitoring blood sugar levels — a taxing experience that people with diabetes must grow used to doing every day — to ways that make insulin easier to deliver, there have been significant innovations that are changing the way we manage diabetes.
With healthcare costs rapidly rising, many stakeholders—including payers, providers, pharma, wellness companies and employers—are looking for ways to better manage the health and chronic conditions of our country’s population. Cue in Livongo, a consumer digital health company that empowers people with diabetes to lead a better life, and creator of a completely new approach for diabetes management that combines the latest technology with personalized coaching.
86 percent of U.S. healthcare spending is for patients with one or more chronic conditions - disease management is vital in addressing overall healthcare costs.
Employers have taken note of this. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Education Trust 2015 Employer Health Benefits Survey, 68 percent of employers with more than 200 employees currently offer disease management programs, which are targeted to employees with an existing chronic condition like diabetes, asthma and so forth.
And the ROI for offering these programs is clear. Contributing to the success of these disease management programs are the connected clinical devices that consumers can use at home. These include connected glucose meters, blood pressure cuffs, weight scales, thermometers, spirometers, to name a few. As time progresses, these in-home devices are becoming smaller, easier to use and more cost-effective, making buy-in easier for employers and employees alike. Additionally, some technology firms are helping wellness companies easily integrate the data from these devices directly into the systems they use.
The Livongo program gives customers the right tools and support to manage their diabetes. This is done through the use of the Livongo meter - a connected glucose meter that automatically uploads blood glucose readings to the cloud, making them accessible online by patients, physicians, as well as family members and loved ones. Livongo’s application transforms raw data into valuable information that can be used to improve patient care and provide personalized tips for managing the disease.
The wellness industry is crowded and changing rapidly. For wellness companies to remain competitive, it’s clear they need to continue evolving their offerings—both lifestyle management and disease management programs—and integrate other sources of information from digital health devices and apps.
But greater than a competitive edge is the opportunity that wellness companies and employers alike have to make a substantial impact on the quality of life and degree of happiness for those living with chronic disease.