Roundup: More ADA news from Medtronic, Care4Life, Hygieia, and iSage

By Jonah Comstock
Share

Late last week we did a pre-conference roundup of news from the 77th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association. Now that the show has concluded, here’s a few more notable stories from the show:

Care4Life texting lowers A1C, but not as consistently as personal intervention

One study presented at the conference looked at 166 Medicaid patients with Type 2 diabetes and an average HbA1c levels of 10.5 percent. The cohort was split into three arms. One group used Wellpass's (formerly Voxiva’s) Care4Life mobile app to keep track of blood sugar and blood pressure, get reminders about medications and doctor’s visits, and to get tips about nutrition and exercise. A second group had community health workers (CHWs) assigned to them to help coordinate access to food, medical visits, and medications. The third group had both the app and the community health worker. The study ran for a year.

Across all groups, patients decreased their A1C levels by an average of 1.3 percent and 30 percent of the group achieved the goal of A1C levels below 8 percent. By that metric, the group that did best was the group that had both interventions; 43 percent had A1Cs below 8 percent, compared to 29 percent of the community health worker group and 17 percent of the app-only group.

"When we provided the support of a CHW or a mobile health application, patients with type 2 diabetes experiencing challenges with their self-care were able to achieve important improvement in health measures and a reduction in distress secondary to living with this chronic condition,” Dr. Michelle Magee, associate professor of medicine at Georgetown University, and the Director of the MedStar Diabetes Institute, said in a statement. “Evidence to show both the potential impact of CHWs and the potential use of mobile health applications to improve health outcomes, as detailed in this study, are needed in order for health care systems to comfortably invest dollars to these new patient support approaches. Our study shows that these two strategies can significantly improve patient health. In fact, the reduction in A1C levels in our study was as positive a change as what we typically see with the addition of another antihyperglycemic medication to patients' treatment regimens.”

Medtronic gives us an update on Sugar IQ

Medical device company Medtronic has been working on an IBM Watson-powered AI agent called Sugar IQ that can deliver insights to people with diabetes based on the history of their insulin doses, blood sugar readings, and behaviors like eating, sleeping, and exercise. The app was announced at CES in 2016 and shown off in more detail at last year’s Health 2.0.

At ADA, Medtronic head of innovation Huzefa Neemuchwala shared some preliminary data from the app as well as some anecdotes and case studies. 

In a set of deidentified data from 97 beta testers who used the app between March 1st and May 25th. Users’ average time in their ideal blood glucose range per day increased by 37 minutes, average lows per year down were down 11.4 percent, and average highs per year were down 8.4 percent. Overall, 65 percent of users had fewer lows and 55 percent had fewer highs. Seventy-eight percent of users used the app to log their food.

In the case studies, the app only took a couple of days to detect trends, and gently nudging tips from the app were able to successfully modify that behavior.

Hygieia, iSageRx partner on titration

Hygieia, a company dedicated to making insulin management easier, and iSage, an AmalgamRx subsidiary that has an FDA-cleared app for automated titration of all basal insulin brands, are working together to integrate their two technologies, the iSage Rx provider- and patient-dosing platform and Hygieia's proven d-Nav Insulin Guidance Service. The iSage technology will be incorporated into an ongoing pilot in Michigan with Hygieia, which has a network of specialty care clinics.

"Hygieia was first to recognize that there must be a better way to use insulin, and we've demonstrated that our d-Nav approach works. We are excited to be bringing this concept to the U.S. through a network of specialty-care clinics designed to simplify the process by which healthcare providers manage insulin," Hygieia CEO Eran Bashansaid in a statement. "Healthcare providers can refer their patients to us and we'll take on the burden of managing their patients' insulin therapy. The game-changing combination of Hygieia and iSage Rx technology will provide patients on insulin proven success, peace of mind, and best-in-class technology.”

"We're thrilled to support Hygieia's rapidly expanding network of specialty-care clinics. This collaboration exemplifies our approach of enabling other companies and technologies to integrate and offer insulin titration solutions; we're committed to creating the best insulin titration engine for patients with diabetes," iSage CEO Ryan Sysko added. "Our goal is to further support Hygieia by incorporating the capability to titrate all types of insulin including premix, bolus, basal plus GLP1, and U500 by the end of the year."