Ex-Allscripts CEO launches new mobile health startup for diabetes care

By Jonah Comstock
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In Touch Blood Glucose Monitoring System from Livongo HealthGlen Tullman, the former Allscripts CEO who left the company at the end of 2012 by mutual agreement, is back in the health field. His newest venture, Livongo, launched from the stage of TechCrunch's Disrupt conference in San Francisco and has already raised a $10 million funding round from General Catalyst Partners.

"Our plan is to use the experience gained in Silicon Valley on consumer empowerment, deep healthcare experience, and cutting-edge global cellular technology to provide solutions that empower people with diabetes and their support teams ... to focus on living their on-the-go lives, not on their chronic conditions," Tullman wrote in an email. "We want to use the same principles that made it easy to order music, read books, store pictures, stay connected with people, and yes, even order a taxi, and apply them to healthcare."

Tullman has been working on this project since at least May of last year, when MobiHealthNews caught up with him and received some hints about what Livongo would be: a consumer-centric venture aimed at improving the management of chronic diseases.

"We need to stop thinking of people as patients,” Tullman said at the time. "Health should be consumer-centric. When it doesn’t work, then it becomes patient-centric.”

Livongo Health will aim to engage all kinds of people with diabetes -- old and young, type 1 and type 2 -- in the management of their care. The platform will consist of connected devices, a smart cloud, and a virtual care team. 

The connected device, called In Touch, will serve as both a connected glucometer and a pedometer and will allow easy sharing of the data. It's not smartphone connected, but instead is a standalone device with a color touchscreen that is cellular connected. The device is already FDA-cleared, according to the company, and is in ongoing clinical tests at The University of Massachusetts and the University of South Florida.

Correction: The original version of this article said the device would not use test strips. In fact, it will merely not require the user to order test strips.

"First, we minimize and ease the busywork and burden (no logging, ordering strips, or having to remember to bring your meter to physician visit and download it)," the company writes in the press release. "Second, we use the cellular network to keep you in touch at all times, anywhere you are, automatically transmitting blood glucose readings, activity information (such as steps), and how you’re feeling to provide a real-time picture of your health."

Information from the connected device combines with clinical rules and information from the user's physician in the smart cloud. All this data goes into creating personalized insights to improve the user's health management. The data can also be sent to the virtual care team -- a combination of certified diabetes educators and friends and family members selected by the user.

Livongo will work directly with patients (and already has a core of beta users) but will also make its product available through managed care provider HealthCare Partners and some large, self-insured employers, including OfficeMax.

“As a parent of a son with diabetes, I know firsthand about the challenges of living with a condition that is present each day, every hour, every minute," Tullman said in a statement. “... Our mission is to help consumers minimize engagement with the disease and maximize healthy living on the go."