Sanofi, Aetna-Inova JV target diabetes with digital therapeutic pilot program

By Dave Muoio
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Sanofi and Innovation Health — an insurance company jointly run by Inova and Aetna —have announced a pilot program examining the impact of digital health strategies to improve care for Type 2 diabetes patients.

The program will tap One Drop, a diabetes self-management app and Bluetooth blood sugar monitor, and Gocap, a mobile-friendly device and insulin dose management platform that emphasizes physician involvement, in an effort to improve medication adherence and patient outcomes.

"We've always put a priority on finding innovative ways to reach consumers,” Dr. Sunil Budhrani, chief medical officer and chief medical informatics officer at Innovation Health, told MobiHealthNews. “Consumers with Type 2 diabetes face unique health challenges that could be improved through technologies like these that encourage closer communication with physicians and understanding a patients unique health needs. With this pilot program we're excited to see how new technologies impact outcomes for Type 2 diabetes patients."

The pilot program itself will be facilitated by Innovation Health, Inova Health Systems, and Aetna’s Healthagen division. Specifically, Budhrani noted that the program will show how new technologies can help improve public health. Sebastien Coisne, vice president of Innovative Solutions at Sanofi, said that the platforms could also ease the burden of self-management for beleaguered patients.

“Our ambition is to empower people with diabetes to live the life they want,” Coisne said in a statement. “We believe that combining innovative medicines with connected devices and solutions leads to better patient outcomes and an improved patient experience.”

New York-based One Drop’s self-management platform has been around for a few years, but recently saw an increased focus on user accessibility. Along with its 24-7 access to coaches through a real-time, in-app chat, the service expanded its subscription program and added Amazon Alexa integration in June.

“Accessibility is a foundational value at One Drop,” CEO and founder Jeff Dachis said in a statement at the time. “With new voice and alternative visual interfaces, we are extending our commitment to accessible care with features and programs that allow access to data-driven diabetes care for those with vision challenges, advanced neuropathy, or limited dexterity/mobility, the elderly, caregivers, as well as those challenged by the visual/tactile interfaces associated with smartphones.”

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Common Sensing’s Gocap is an insulin pen cap that automatically logs usage data to an app once placed on the pen. This data can be easily provided to physicians for more accurate feedback on whether or not the patient is using their insulin correctly or if there is an issue with treatment. Common Sensing launched a clinical trial of the platform last October in collaboration with Joslin Diabetes Center, Sanofi, and Dexcom, and as of that time had raised $5 million in funding from Qualcomm, Sanofi, and Waterline Ventures.

There are also a number of diabetes management apps currently available for download, many of which MobiHealthNews covered in its 2017 roundup of options available on Apple’s store.