There's been a lot of talk lately about integrating activity data collected by devices like the Fitbit or the Misfit Shine into the clinical workflow, but there haven't been too many concrete examples yet. Now diabetes management technology company Glooko, which made its name with a universal cord and app for connecting glucometers to smartphones, is changing that. The company introduced a feature today which lets patients feed activity data into its population health management software, the Glooko-Joslin HypoMap system.
"Being here in Silicon Valley, there’s all this press and all this attention to fitness devices," Rick Altinger, CEO of Glooko, told MobiHealthNews. "But the reality is, those fitness devices don’t correlate. They don’t help drive people with a chronic disease to change their behavior and understand this sort of correlation between exercise and lower blood glucose levels."
Glooko's new feature, which will be rolled out immediately to the company's provider customers, uses that data in a number of ways. Educationally, being able to show the patient a graph where days with more exercise line up with healthier blood glucose levels can be a powerful tool for physicians, Altinger said. In addition, doctors and diabetes educators will be able to monitor patients' activity and glucose levels remotely and check in if need be.
"In today’s world you might go to your doctor two or three times a year at best," Altinger said. "And even with someone with diabetes -- so they’re going more frequently -- it’s hard to get them to go more often than that. So now, you leave the clinic and [your doctor] basically says, I want you to use Glooko, I want you to connect it to your exercise device ... and you’ll start to see some correlations associated with your data. Then basically you’re going to start engaging with your provider in a remote way."
If providers integrate HypoMap into their EHRs, physicians can set alarms in the EHR to check a patient's data every few weeks and check in with them by phone about what they see if necessary. In the future, physicians will be able to go further, automatically adjusting insulin prescriptions based on activity levels. In a statement, Dr. Howard Wolpert, Director of the Joslin Insitute of Technology Translation, elaborated on how the technology could help.
"Physical activity is one of the major causes of hypoglycemia in individuals with diabetes. Daytime exercise will often have a delayed effect on the glucose levels and lead to nighttime hypoglycemia,” he said. “The integration of activity data from wearable devices into the Glooko-Joslin HypoMap system will help individual patients identify their own individual specific activity threshold that is predictive of overnight lows. We will be able to provide patients with alerts when they reach their hypoglycemia risk threshold, so that they can take preemptive steps – such as adjusting their insulin doses or eating a snack – to prevent hypoglycemia. This is one of the first steps in our vision of building a diabetes care ecosystem that will provide remote, intelligent, 24-7 guidance to patients with diabetes everywhere."
Currently, the graph takes in data from Fitbit, Jawbone, Withings, and iHealth devices (among others) as well as free apps like Moves and Runkeeper. Plans are in the works to incorporate Apple's HealthKit "when it has traction," Altinger said. Also in the works: integration of weight and blood pressure data from Withings and iHealth devices into the graph.
"We want patients and the health system and the ecosystem to figure out what are the right devices for them, whether they want the expensive Fitbit device or the free Moves app, or the free HealthKit steps counter," Altinger said. "That’s up to them. We’re the agnostic data management platform that’s focused on trying to help the ecosystem lower costs and improve outcomes patients with diabetes."