Six-month Glooko pilot shows increased engagement, glucose control among T2 diabetes patients

By Dave Muoio

A six-month pilot program conducted by Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group in San Diego found that diabetes patients using Glooko’s care management platform were more engaged with their care and achieved better control of their blood glucose levels, according to a case study released by the company.

From April to October 2016, Sharp Rees-Stealy care teams provided access to Glooko's platform to 50 Type 2 diabetes patients with A1c greater than 10 percent. Each patient received training on Glooko’s diabetes care platform from case managers, who were also using the product’s web app to monitor the patients’ progress between appointment. Teams tracked patients’ engagement and blood test results, while managers conducted follow-up calls with the patients each month to review trends in their care or other recommended lifestyle adjustments.

“During the pilot, we saw that the combination of digital health and remote support from the care team can have a real impact,” Glooko CEO Rick Altinger told MobiHealthNews in an email. “During this joint program, patients improved their average blood glucose by 10 percent — about 15 mg/dL on average. Over time, this kind of thing can result in overall improved outcomes. In addition, we saw patients doubled their engagement by increasing their daily blood glucose testing frequency from less than one time per day to an average of 1.8 times per day." 

Along with these findings, 80 percent of patients reported their experience with Glooko’s platform as either “good” or “very good.” Those who continued to use Glooko beyond the six month period also continued to see even stronger gains in managing their blood glucose.

Despite these promising results, the case study came with some hiccups. Because there were no on-boarding goals or a dedicated program champion, uptake of the platform was slow until implementation of a weekly case manager report mid-pilot. Further, overall outcomes may have been impacted by the relatively steep A1c inclusion criteria, as those with the higher values driven by an unhealthy lifestyle would also less likely to adapt their behaviors with intervention.

This hypothesis will be explored further in the second phase of the pilot, which will include Type 2 diabetes patients with A1c greater than 8.5 percent.

“Due to its intuitive and highly functional interface, Glooko’s tools appeal to a large portion of our patient population,” Janet Appel, director of informatics and population health at Sharp Rees-Stealy, said in a statement. “When patients use Glooko, they feel empowered and it inspires them to better manage their condition; it makes them feel like they’re in control. The results and product are just a couple of reasons why we decided to move forward with a larger patient population.”

Last month, Glooko’s Mobile Insulin Dosing System (MIDS) — an app-driven tool that recommends insulin dose adjustments using data collected directly from a patient’s blood glucose meter — was cleared by the FDA. At the time, Altinger told MobiHealthNews that the diabetes management platform is currently deployed to more than 7,000 provider sites, and integrates over 150 different diabetes devices such as glucose meters, pumps, and continuous glucose monitors. 

“We’re part of an end-to-end platform,” he said last month. “This is a module that you can add on to the product offering, but the product has other feature functionality … that makes it more popular with physicians that treat diabetes today.”

Glooko raised a $35 million growth round last June, and has announced numerous partnerships over the past year with Novo Nordisk, Dexcom, Fit4D, Ascensia, and others.