Diabetes management company Health2Sync is looking to expand its operation into Japan after raising $6 million in Series B investments led by Sompo Holdings, one of Japan’s largest insurance companies.
“Japan is one of the world’s largest markets in diabetes-related spending and it is crucial to have a local partner as it can also be viewed as a difficult market to penetrate,” Ed Deng, cofounder and CEO of Health2Sync, said in a statement.
The Taipei, Taiwan-based company said the new funding will be used to set up operations in Japan, deepen data-driven services, and build features specifically for health insurance partnerships.
“From our observation, the Japanese government has created [policies] and made funding available for diabetes care and prevention of complications," Deng said in an email to MobiHealthNews. "This has encouraged outsourcing of chronic disease prevention and management to private service providers.”
Health2Sync provides a multi-part patient management platform with a patient-facing app, a cable that connects different kinds of glucometers to a smartphone, and a data analytics engine that uses patients' data to make personalized recommendations. The app offers users automated alerts, behavioral data analysis, a chatbot to perform real-time analysis, and web-based support that allows care providers to remotely monitor patients efficiently.
According to the company, after using Health2Sync for three months, the average blood glucose of high-risk users decreased by 22 percent.
Health2Sync was first founded in 2013. In August of 2016 it raised $3 million in funding from a combination of firms in Silicon Valley and Asia. At the time the company said that funding would go towards expanding the program outside of Taiwan and into surrounding markets — especially noting Japan.
In 2016 the company told MobiHealthNews that it was focusing on Japan because of the high rate of smartphone adoption and health literacy. In the 2016 interview Deng said the company could potentially get into larger Asian markets, such as China, in the future but plans to focus on Japan for the time being.
The company got its start Taiwan, which the company notes was advantageous because the government offers financial incentives to hospitals and clinics for effective diabetes management. There, it partnered with the country's Ministry of Health and Welfare to bring diabetes care online.
In the last year the company has also worked with public and private payers in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore with the goal of reducing medical costs associated with diabetes complications. Deng noted that the company is currently working with MetLife, Cigna, and re-insurers to offer protection and digital engagement to diabetics. It has also worked with various Asian governments.
“As national health insurance is the largest payer in some [Asian] countries where cost and efficiency is critical, our system enables healthcare providers with more real-time and more efficient patient management,” Deng wrote. “Being able to have direct touch point with the population for risk identification is of huge value to public payers.”
Diabetes is prevalent in Asia. Accounting to Health2Sync, Asia accounts for nearly 50 percent of all cases in the world.
As of 2013, China had the highest total number of people with diabetes of any country, according to an analysis done by the American Diabetes Association. The analysis also noted that the number of people living with diabetes in Japan has increased significantly since 1997, especially among the male population.
Deng said that in the future the company will look at addressing a number of additional issues that challenges diabetes care in Asia.
“Health2Sync is tackling the lack of resources and lack of awareness for proper diabetes management, and most importantly, enabling cost-effective and scalable diabetes care in Southeast Asia,” Deng .
At the end of November the company announced a partnership with Ascensia Diabetes Care. The partnership will combine offerings for people with diabetes that comprise of the CONTOUR PLUS or CONTOUR TS blood glucose monitoring system from Ascensia, the Health2Sync app and a loyalty program for users.