This morning Solera Health, a digital marketplace for benefits and chronic disease management programs, is offering a new Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) in American Sign Language (ASL) to people in the Kansas City area.
The program, created by the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, will service adults living with hearing impairments in the region who are covered by a local payer. The pair claim this is the first DPP in sign language.
“As the local health department, it’s our mission to prevent disease and promote wellness for all who live, work and play in Johnson County. Our early results with DPP show that it works with 48% of participants reaching their weight loss goals," Mary Beverly, interim director of the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, said in a statement. "We are thrilled to expand our offering to deaf residents through this partnership with Solera to better meet their health education needs."
WHY IT MATTERS
Hearing loss is a fairly common condition. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 15% of people over 18 in the US have some trouble hearing. Worldwide, approximately 466 million people have disabling hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization.
The partners are pitching this technology as a way for people living with hearing loss to access diabetes prevention information. The NIH reports that hearing loss is twice as likely in adults that have diabetes than those who do not have the condition.
THE LARGER TREND
Recently more tech giants are putting a focus on making tools accessible to people living with hearing loss. For instance, in June Apple updated its information page detailing how hearing aids can work with an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. The devices can pair with a user’s hearing aids and be controlled via the device. The Apple device will let a user view battery life, adjust volume for hearing aids and turn on music.
Founded in 2015, Solera has inked deals with both regional and national organizations. In June the digital health company teamed up with Blue Shield of California to help the former relaunch its wellness platform Wellvolution. It has also inked a number of deals with diabetes focused providers. For example, in January of 2018 it signed an agreement with WellDoc, making its diabetes management therapeutic BlueStar available on Solera’s platform.
ON THE RECORD
“We are thrilled to welcome Johnson County Department of Health and Environment to our expanding network of diverse program providers, and look forward to connecting the hearing-impaired community with a [DPP] that is tailored to their specific needs,” Brenda Schmidt, CEO of Solera, said in a statement. “Empowering consumers with program choices and accessibility to help them improve their health is the foundation of our marketplace model. This curriculum is uniquely designed to help put the deaf and hearing impaired on an appropriate path to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.”