Patient Engagement

Chronic disease management company Livongo boosts platform with new device and data capabilities

The new offerings are part of the company’s evolution to what it calls Applied Health Signals, a shorthand to describe their platform’s combination of data science and contextually relevant behavior change tools.

Mountain View, California-based digital health company Livongo, has released new products and capabilities intended to better target the complex problem of helping patient manage chronic conditions.

Among these offerings are a cellular connections for the company’s voice-enabled blood pressure monitoring system, a new program that will allow some Livongo members waive co-pays for their medication and data sharing partnerships to unlock more insights about patients.

The announcements are part of the company’s evolution to what it calls Applied Health Signals, a shorthand to describe their platform’s combination of data science and contextually relevant behavior change tools.

Amar Kendale, Livongo’s chief product officer, said that the mass influx of data in healthcare has provided new opportunities to serve patients, but also increasing complexity in how to identify and interpret information that is useful.

“The learnings we’ve had in diabetes was that in order make it easier for patients to manage their condition whatever we add needs to be actionable, it needs to be personalized and it needs to be timely,” Kendale said in a phone interview.

One key example is the introduction of so-called health nudges on the Livongo platform, which are created by aggregating behavioral data with clinical results and clinical guidelines for better disease management.

Essentially the company can notify and suggest contextually relevant and personalized actions for more effective chronic disease management. One example provided by Kendale is motivating patients to check their blood sugar levels before breakfast, which is an important data collection point for patients with diabetes.

Products like the company’s voice-enabled, cellular connected blood pressure monitor allows Livongo to give timely and contextually relevant feedback with less access barriers. Patients can talk with their device in order to help develop better lifestyle or clinical practices to better manage their disease.

Kendale said the company had previously tried features like long-form videos and multi-session education modules to help patients improve behavior, but these often suffered from low rates of adoption.

“Health nudges are our attempt to simplify the distillation of our past four years of work. We have to address the problem of figuring out what a person needs at a certain time and which of those health nudges actually working,” Kendale said.

With regards to the company’s hypertension management service, Livongo has started to partner with its customers which include payers and employers in order to help enable patients to get their co-pays waived when purchasing medication if they stick to taking their medication and Livongo care plans.

Of course, this relies on getting more information on patients which the company is looking to accomplish through data sharing partnerships with stakeholders like health plans, PBMs and startups like medication management platform Medisafe.

A big part of why we’re launching Applied Health Signals, is really to invite the ecosystem to help broaden our perspective on the conditions we can address,” Kendale said.

Both the medication incentives program and the voice and cellular enabled blood pressure monitor will be rolled out to members in 2019.

Livongo was initially launched in 2014 by former Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman with a focus on diabetes, but has widened their ambitions into other chronic diseases.

The company has seen major milestones over the past year including a $105 million Series E financing round, an acquisition of weight loss startup Retrofit and a mobile redesign to simplify the user experience for members.

Kendale said as the company continues to grow into other diseases states, a major focus is in helping patients with multiple chronic conditions effectively prioritize steps to improve their health.

“We’ve been bringing all the services together and reconciling it on the backend,” Kendale said. “Both the clinical component, which is the thing to focus on right now, and the actual intervention and therapies are often the same for conditions like hypertension and diabetes.”

Picture: Livongo Health