Livongo for Diabetes Enters the Cloud-Connected Blood Glucose Meter Market in the US
By Adam Brown
Twitter: Livongo for Diabetes cloud-connected meter connects users to virtual care team, has algorithm-based feedback and built-in activity monitor
Livongo Health recently announced the launch of Livongo for Diabetes, a new digital health platform. The system includes a cellular-enabled, color touchscreen meter that immediately sends blood glucose readings to the cloud (similar to the Telcare meter). A software algorithm then uses the data to send immediate feedback to the user (e.g., “You are consistently low in the afternoon”) based on rules set by a healthcare provider (and we hope with patients’ input). We hear the software “gets smarter and more personalized” over time – it’s not clear what this looks like yet but we hope it could learn patients’ patterns and tendencies. The user can also elect to send the information to family members, a positive for parents and partners who are involved in care. The Livongo platform provides users with a remote care team, a group of on-call diabetes educators whose role is to provide support to patients and intervene if blood glucose data require attention. This virtual team can reportedly respond to patients within 60 seconds – boy does that sound great!
The entire platform (including the meter, algorithm software, lancing device, access to the remote care team, and unlimited strips) costs $70/month, a good deal for patients who test fairly often (4 or more times per day). Currently, Livongo for Diabetes is not available for individual consumers, though a consumer platform is in development – unfortunately, there are scant details on availability. For now, Livongo is working to make the system available to insurers and employers, who would distribute it to patients (it has already made deals with HealthCare Partners and Office Depot, among several others). Livongo has also partnered with other organizations like the College Diabetes Network that will give the system to a subset of college-aged patients free-of-charge.
Unlike the WellDoc BlueStar system, Livongo for Diabetes cannot provide specific insulin-dosing suggestions at this time. Still, the use of immediate feedback is a huge plus, and one that should allow faster therapy changes, assuming patients have healthcare providers willing to work with the system. We look forward to trying the cellular-connected meter and platform in a future test drive. -AJW/AB