Personalizing Diabetic Care

utu_blood_pricks Photo by Towfiqu Barbhuiya on Unsplash.

Your health needs are personal to you, and health services should strive for the gold standard of providing us with care that is unique for us.


Diabetes is a global crisis and so far, the healthcare system is unequipped to care for each individual with tailor-made solutions. Cost of care is extremely expensive - enough to bankrupt families [Ref A] - and in many places simply unavailable. We are turning to technology and Artificial Intelligence for good and provide personalized and scalable care to diabetics. This will balance out the scales for millions across the world.

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Sadly, the reality of healthcare is far from this. Individual patients can disappear into the abyss of averages and lose their individuality to the bar and pie charts of statistics in conferences and presentations. This outcome is not the result of some malevolent design, in fact, its many things but that. Personalized Healthcare (PHC) has been resource intensive and extremely expensive to provide at scale. The tide is starting to change.

Personalizing healthcare has meant tedious and monotonous testing of pathogens and individuals for biomarkers to understand each one of them and how they interact with each other. Only then would we have confidence in recommending personalized treatments and recommendations to the patient.

The tides are turning. Recent advances in technology have resulted in the big data and Artificial Intelligence revolutions that are cutting across the the health ecosystem. From assistive algorithms for clinicians, to now personal health assistants for patients.

What does this mean for diabetes?

For patients with diabetes, the condition becomes a central part of their identity and either determines the actions the take, or the consequences they face. With millions of across the world belonging to this group, and a large percentage of this population having poor access to healthcare services, sometimes waiting 12 to 18 months before seeing their diabetic care team, it is no wonder the cost of diabetes in the US is now $327 Billion per year (2017) [Ref B].

Diabetes is expensive from every perspective, governments pay billions every year, billions are lost in productivity, and families are burdened emotionally and financially. In the United States alone, it is estimated that over half a million (>500,000) families file for bankruptcy over medical debt[Ref A]. This is made even worse considering the burden of disease is not equally distributed across socioeconomic groups with the larger portion being lower income households.

One of the costs in a diabetes bill, especially for Type 2, is also the most recurring - physician visits. Meeting with your diabetic care team is an important part of the care process, this is where your endocrinologist reviews your progress, your nutritionist adjusts your meal plans, your podiatrist reviews you healing wound, and more. This is a human resource, carefully trained over many many years.

Unfortunately, when a patient leaves the health clinic they are on their own. They have to follow their instructions - which can quickly be irrelevant as their state of health changes - until the next meeting which can take more than a year. During this time, the patients health evolves and there is no one to monitor, guide and respond to the changes.

This is where personal health assistants can provide the most value. Providing you with more than just glucose monitoring, patients can:

  1. Predict how their bodies will respond to different foods, activities and mitigate their risk
  2. Get warnings up to 6 - 48 hours ahead of time for complications such as Diabetic Ketoacidocis (DKA), Hypoglycemia and more
  3. Monitor health of wounds and ulcers through imaging technology delivered right to their phones
  4. Quickly identify diabetes associated mental decline through built in assessments for memory, response times and more
  5. Monitory eye health with standardized vision tests
  6. Perform symptom assessments as soon as symptoms present to catch complications early on
  7. Get dietitian approved meal plans that are responsive to your weekly plans and trends so far
  8. And of-course, keep track of their glucose trends and patterns.

The opportunities for delivering care directly to the patient, in a personalized way, really do seem endless. Powered by proven technologies and clinical discoveries and advancements, this is what Utu Care is doing.