World Diabetes Day Thoughts
What does the consumerisation of health mean? It means giving patients agency to choose their goods, services and apps, in order to find the most effective way of managing their conditions. Brands that have tapped into consumerisation of healthcare understand that all patients have complex, multi-faceted lives which inform broader, practical, context of any treatment. Using insight into behavioural patterns allows these brands to fit their management plans or solutions around the individual, on their terms.
Using data in this way has huge potential, not to undermine current health systems, but to supplement, and problem solve some of the most fundamental problems – making the fundamental recognition that as soon as a patient leaves their clinic, the context of their life kicks in.
To give some relevant context, the US government spends $3 billion annually on subsidising patient transport, and yet 3.6 million Americans miss medical appointments every year due to issues with transport. Software start-up, Circulation, is trying to solve this problem by co-ordinating with Uber, Lyft and non-emergency ambulances to get elderly or disabled patients to these vital check-ups.
Livongo’s Chief Product Manager, Amar Kendale, explains why personalisation is so important, “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.” This is classic Nudge theory in action.
Personalised, actionable care, that fits around the realities of a patient’s lifestyle is the way forward. Abbott, for example, has realised that diabetes products can make clear lifestyle claims, with their Freestyle Libre monitor letting divers go under water with their equipment. The vital point is to treat diabetics as empowered consumers, like any other consumer group.