How tech companies are working on Diabetes technology ?

Our app on the phone is the very first app of this nature for a medical device of this high classification to go straight to a phone. What we learned in going to the phone is there’s a lot we didn’t know, and we’ve had to work with Apple on the iPhone and the Apple Watch apps. To make sure we understand how other protocols work our software will be upgraded to accept the direct watch protocol, but in addition to that, we must update the firmware on the transmitter that is part of the body-worn component so that it can communicate with a watch.

– Kevin Sayer
Dexcom CEO

The world’s biggest tech companies are getting into health care if you zoom out into the future and you look back and you ask the question what Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind was it will be about health. These companies are thinking about the space because it is massive it is worth trillions of dollars today and health care is one of the few sectors that hasn’t been disrupted yet by technology.

Well, once you decide to look at healthcare and health tech the obvious place to start is with chronic conditions and by far the biggest segment there is the diabetes market. In 2017 425 million people worldwide were living with diabetes that number is expected to rise to 629 million by 2045.

For years Apple and Alphabet have been rumored to be working on non-invasive ways to check glucose levels but never brought anything to market now both tech giants are collaborating with medical device company Dexcom #Dexcom a maker of Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM)  for people with diabetes the company has seen incredible growth its revenue grew 44% in 2018 to over a billion dollars that’s up from 718 million in 2017.

All the tech companies are looking to healthcare and they’re looking to healthcare to expand they’re looking at healthcare as a way you know to get to the future they believe they can be an integral component of that for a number of these companies.

The world’s biggest tech companies are partnering with it first we need to understand what a Continuous Glucose Monitor is and why diabetics use them. Diabetes is a disease where the body does not produce any insulin this is known as type 1 it’s also when the body does not use insulin efficiently this is known as type 2 both types lead to high glucose levels in the body and whether it’s treated with insulin diet exercise or some other medication blood sugar monitoring is a crucial key to management the traditional method of measuring is with a glucose meter.

A small device that measures the level from a single drop of blood however this method offers no context to what is happening in between readings so a lot of diabetics are turning to continuous glucose monitors that automatically read blood sugar levels every five minutes. Insulin by itself can be a very deadly drug if a patient takes too much insulin, they can go dangerously low and possibly go into a coma and die.

This device has is alerts and alarms that tell a patient hey you’re too low you need to wake up and do something. It works by putting a small hair size sensor under your skin the sensor then measures glucose levels in your interstitial fluid the data is then transmitted to a monitor or smart phone. The flow of data allows the user to instantly see their blood sugar levels whether it is steady rising or falling and shows trends in how levels change depending on things like food and exercise.

Why Alphabet, Amazon and Apple are all working on diabetes tech ?

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There are only a handful of companies making devices similar too Dexcom CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring). There are only two players in this work there’s Dexcom and there’s Abbott and they’re basically taking a different approach next time is kind of like Apple of Clinical Trials Network (CTN) you know the high-end premium product to get all the bells all the whistles whereas the free style Libre from Abbott it’s a value proposition doesn’t have all the bells and whistles but it’s extraordinarily cheap it’s easy getting the patient’s hands work just fine.

Medtronic and Senseonics also have CGM on the market all four can be used with smartphones and soon Dexcom will just need the #Apple watch.

Dexcom supporting native core Bluetooth #Bluetooth on the watch which is going to enable experiences for apps that work with small devices around you so for example continuous glucose monitoring directly from Dexcom sensor to your watch.

Apple has been thinking about ways to bring data that a person with diabetes would need right to the Smart Watch or the iPhone so that they can monitor their health in a way that’s just a little bit more comfortable. The way CGM work currently you need a receiver or a phone within a few feet of the sensor in order to receive blood sugar data.

Dexcom has been working with Apple since 2017 on losing the phone tether and going straight to the Apple watch they work very closely with Apple over the years.

Apple is very interested in the technology and they’ve done some work and some studies this new feature will only work on series 2 and later Apple watches because it needs the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Bluetooth connection. After a beta testing the user can expect the official roll out in near future. Dexcom will also debut its next-generation sensor very soon the G7 it’s a collaboration with Alphabets Life Sciences group.

Several years Dexcom signed an agreement with #Google Health which became barely to jointly develop continuous glucose monitor configuration with Google and their responsibilities were developing the electronics and miniaturizing component and really taking advantage of things that Google knew and Dexcom on the other hand have developed a mechanical system the sensor and all those other components put them together.

Verily is just one of many companies who have tried and failed at making non-invasive glucose monitors one of its first projects back in 2014 was a smart contact lens that measured blood glucose. It paused the project in 2018 after it found insufficient consistency and measurements of tear glucose and blood glucose. They realized through those experiences is they can’t do it alone and that is the reason these tech companies enter the space and trying to work with partners within health and life sciences.

Track record they know how to work with regulators, and they know how to build devices that are safe and so ultimately. These companies are trying to both avoid the liability and avoid making the same mistakes they’ve made before.

About the Author
Syed Sarfaraz has over 17+ years of experience in multiple BI Analytical tools, Software Development. In various project he has successfully implemented BI Solution for client. Apart from this he has Digital Marketing and business strategy experience. He also contributes articles for He focuses on solutions that merge current technologies, applications, and concepts together to help each client meet their goals with success.

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