There is a growing sector of ‘diabetes tech’ preparing to offer its services to ‘pre-diabetics’ with diagnoses in the US expected to triple in the next thirty years
If you aren’t a follower of the “tech scene,” you have been blessed not to be inundated with buzzwords like “end-to-end solution” and other pieces of jargon from startups that claim to be able to cover all your needs.
While no one provider is ever to likely cover all of your needs, there are a few that do come closer than others. When you are dealing with a need as exacting and sensitive as diabetes, finding a comprehensive solution can help reduce some of the complexities of life.
DarioHealth (NASDAQ: DRIO) appears to be one of the few companies that has actually packaged as many problem-solving mechanisms into their products as possible and might justifiably be called a full-scale solution to diabetic problems with their glucose level testing device and accompanying app that connects it to the cloud.
DarioHealth Chairman and CEO Erez Raphael told Geektime recently on the sidelines of the OurCrowd Investor Conference in Jerusalem that the plan is to connect the service to 911 call centers, but right now it directs to a relative or friend.
“If he’s on a train with risk of hypoglycemic attack in next two hours, I can approach him and make sure he can eat something.”
He described the sophistication of the company’s product, which can contact emergency services through the app in those instances when it’s absolutely necessary. But even short of that, Dario’s app is pretty sophisticated.
Their blood glucose meter plugs into your audio jack and uses its own strips to give a blood sugar reading back in less than 10 seconds (at least in this author’s case) and also lets you track your daily calorie and food intake right there inside the app.
It goes deeper, even making suggestions for your diet. It includes pattern recognition algorithms that will infer why your blood sugar might be rising, as well as pinpoint times when it’s most likely to occur.
Their primary concern right now — and emerging market as it were — is the growing number of diabetics in the Western world, especially as always in the United States.
“For the moment we’re focusing on Type I and II, but we’re using push notifications and emails to get them engaged and do more tests. Our next step will be to test people who are pre-diabetic.”
One in ten Americans have diabetes now, but the Center for Disease Control forecasts 1/3 will by 2050. Getting ahead of those trends and targeting pre-diabetic customers constitutes more than just a pillar of DarioHealth’s business strategy, but staving off a public health crisis (if we aren’t already in one).
That echoes wider trends in health technology — or ‘healthtech’ if you will — that are part of renewed focus on so-called “preventative medicine.” Some of those preventative tactics are basic fundamentals many people simply don’t keep up with: regular doctor’s visits, maintaining a balanced diet, and exercising regularly.
The market for treating diabetes (and obesity) could double very soon, from $70.8 billion in 2015 to $163.2 billion by 2022 according to one assessment. Startups are increasingly focused on it like Irish and Bono-backed company Nuritas, Jerusalem-based Sweetch, and Samsung Ventures-backed Glooko. Expect more competitors, but it’s tough to assess if one company will dominate when the market for new customers is depressingly growing.
Of course, some telltale signs of oncoming conditions might not be caused by environmental factors or some might be more predisposed to developing things like diabetes than others with similar lifestyles, but it’s consensus in medical circles that poor exercise habits and the prevalence of sugary foods and drinks are driving up the number of diabetics in the world.
DarioHealth’s emphasis on diet-building within the app is helped along by the integration of what they call the “biggest embedded food database in the world,” which maintains reference information on calories and nutritional facts for various foods and drinks.
Growth in the wearables market has been critical for Dario’s plans, and integrations with a number of other devices like RunKeeper and other medication and mood apps will help Dario build out an ecosystem that offers enough data to build out full day-to-day life plans for pre-diabetics to help stave off the disease.
“If you can take medical devices to a lighter area. We see a whole transformation of wearables and medical devices coming together in one space. Prevention is our game plan. You will start doing things that 10 or 15 years ago only ‘sick’ people had to do.”
Their blood glucose monitor goes for $29.90, more expensive than basic models. Now the task is promoting better health monitoring for personal benefit among the uninitiated. That’s where DarioHealth and the rest of the preventative medical world will probably have to work hardest.
“It should not sold as a standalone but part of a wellness program where you connect to a specific behavior to a specific result.”