Diabetes is a multifaceted chronic disease that has both genetic and behavioral components. Unlike some other chronic diseases, however, it also has a relatively straightforward insurance reimbursement process. Diabetes affects 26 million Americans and can lead to many other complications such as peripheral neuropathy and blindness. For these reasons it’s a primary target of companies looking to apply newly developed data analytics and personalized medicine tools.
Towards this end, Sanofi US – a division of the multinational pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Aventis – just announced its five semifinalists in the 2012 Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge:
- Diabetes 3.0 is an open mHealth platform that helps patients and health care providers collect, aggregate, store, analyze, and display a comprehensive set of diabetes-related data wirelessly and in real-time from various device sources with the goal of achieving better control of patients’ blood sugars.
- LiveHealth is a web-based real-time video platform for patients to visit with a registered dietitian, registered nurse and a diabetes educator either individually or in small groups to reduce ER visits, improve lifestyle changes, improve glucose levels, address weight management and improve quality of life.
- Activity-Based Integrated Data Model is a dynamic database and feedback system that integrates activity that affects blood glucose utilizing the single best measure of activity, the heart rate, to improve blood glucose control.
- iRetainRx is an interactive mobile system that monitors and enables patients, caregivers and pharmacists to collaborate and successfully implement treatment action plans.
- n4a Diabetes Care Center uses predictive analysis to isolate and target patients based on cost patterns and risk profile to provide them with supports/services designed to slow the progression of the disease, improve the quality of health and slow the spending associated with a patient’s health.
The semi-finalists will receive $20,000 each and will participate in an intensive mentorship program (in conjunction with industry leaders and the StartUp America Partnership) and a design & prototyping boot camp in San Francisco. Each team will then pitch to our panel of judges at Demo Day in NYC on May 16th.
The challenge is now in its second year; the first year’s recipient, Ginger.io out of MIT, has been gaining attention because of its novel method of gleaning health data from smart phones. We followed up with the Data Design Diabetes judges to learn a bit more about the challenge and what it means for the future of diabetes care.
Shiv Gaglani, Medgadget: What was the primary motivation in starting the Data Design challenge?
Dennis Urbaniak, VP, U.S. Diabetes, Sanofi US: Sanofi strives to help people manage the complex challenges of diabetes by going beyond the molecule to develop and deliver best-in-class innovative, integrated and personalized solutions that address real needs people have in managing their diabetes every day.As we evolve to a drug + device + service model, we are very interested in connecting with the top innovators solving for diabetes. Data Design Diabetes is one part of our innovation system design; it allows us to cast a wide net.
Medgadget: There seems to be a lot of overlap and room for collaboration between potential solutions. In your opinion, what are the deciding factors that make one solution “better” than another?
Urbaniak: Ultimately, a solution is deemed “good” if it improves the experience or outcome of a person living with diabetes, which is verified by the actual person living with diabetes. Diabetes is an incredibly personal disease with each individual’s experiences and needs varying widely. We believe that there is room in this marketplace for multiple solutions to meet these needs. In regards to the judging process this year, we were specifically looking for solutions that improve the cost, quality, and delivery of care.
Lesa Mitchell, Vice President, Advancing Innovation, Kauffman Foundation: There are a lot of great technology solutions looking to solve a problem. Therefore we need to look at whether founding teams understand the problem first. If they understand the problem do they have a technology solution that can scale and do they have the team that is capable of scaling the technology solution.
Medgadget: How do you foresee the stakeholders, particularly patients as well as insurance companies and the CMS, interacting with these solutions? For example, what model makes the most sense right now for who pays?
Urbaniak: We envision a near future where multiple apps are in use with multiple models in play. There is an overall trend in the market today to shift the focus of care delivery and reimbursement towards improved quality, lower cost, and increased patient satisfaction. This provides a unique opportunity for insurance companies, CMS, and the pharmaceutical industry to work together to demonstrate safe and effective solutions using real life evidence that meet these goals.