Devices & Diagnostics

Mobile health tourney: diabetes tool to improve adherence vs. patient engagement app

A diabetes manager to improve adherence by helping patients feel more in control of their condition faces competition from a multimedia reference tool to engage users by giving them a better understanding of their health.

The NCAA College Basketball tournament may be must-see TV but here mobile health apps and devices are in the throes of competition and the stakes are high. Adherence, remote monitoring, engagement, improved outcomes, reduced healthcare costs. So begins our mini tournament of mobile health apps.

Diabetes Manager by WellDoc (FDA cleared) vs iTriage by Healthagen (acquired by Aetna in 2011)

WellDoc’s Diabetes Manager has set out to help alleviate the epidemic levels of Type 2 diabetes estimated to affect about 26 million people in the US who are contributing to healthcare costs adding up to $92 billion. The device works by capturing users’ blood-glucose information and transmitting it in realtime. WellDoc’s system analyzes the data and a personalized coach offers educational support to help patients manage their medication and treatment. It also fosters greater interaction between healthcare professionals and patients by assessing where users need help most, including addressing behavioral health as depression is commonly associated with chronic conditions. The goal is to make patients feel more in control of their health.

iTriage’s strengths lay in the access to patient information it offers. It provides layer after layer of information. A search for a muscle spasm in the neck yields articles, short descriptions, tests for diagnosis, images, videos, advice lines and a link to medical providers. Originally developed by Healthagen, Aetna acquired the company in 2011 with the assurance it will add more content, particularly price transparency, though that particular feature has not yet been added despite having a nice icon.I thought the self diagnosis while well meaning was not especially helpful and could do with some more question prompts to offer more targeted suggestions.

Winner: iTriage

Why? This match-up went into double overtime. But iTriage has a compelling set of multimedia reference tools that are also resonating with the public to the tune of more than 7 million who have downloaded the app.