WellDoc's Vice President of Healthcare Integration Malinda Peeples outlined the company's ongoing pilot of a mobile phone-based diabetes monitoring system, that is partially funded by LifeScan and Sprint. Peeples noted the opportunities for mHealth in endocrinology and diabetes in particular by pointing to the 21 million Americans currently living with diabetes, the 54 million "pre-diabetic" Americans and the estimate that one out of every three people born in the U.S. after 2000 will develop diabetes. With a mere 2,500 practicing diabetologists in the U.S., Peeples predicted that traditional care will fail to support all of these patients and a disruptive, paradigm-shifting mobile solution will be more effective.
WellDoc's mHealth diabetes solution, Virtual Coach, currently works on five different handsets but will expand to more than 150 phones by mid-year. The service has both a mobile phone interface as well as a patient portal accessible from the patients PC and a clinician's portal for the caregiver to access remotely as well.
Read on for more on WellDoc's three month pilot...
During a recent three month pilot, WellDoc outfitted 15 users with Virtual Coach-enabled handsets along with info on ideal blood glucose ranges, physician instructions, alerts for hypo and hyper glycemic algorithms as well as caregiver alerts that can be sent to spouses or parents. At the end of the three month study, the 15 users of Virtual Coach noticed an average of 2 percent drop in their A1c, compared to no drop in the control group of 15 patients with not Virtual Coach.
Peeples said, "It's never just the patient, never just the clinician, never just the family--it needs to be all three working together."
WellDoc is currently working on a year-long pilot after completing its three month trial, that includes a large percentage of non-tech savvy users with an average age of about 54. The company also plans to expand and scale its platform for similar services for patients with hypertension and asthma. Peeples said the company is also working on pilots for older users (around 73-years-old) and is also working on a pilot with the U.S. Air Force.