SEATTLE – Wellpepper, already an established patient engagement platform provider, came up with a product that leverages voice technology in diabetes care and walked away with the grand prize in the Alexa Diabetes Challenge.
“The challenge showed us the appeal of voice solutions for patients and the clinical value of early detection with home-based solutions,” said Anne Weiler, co-founder and CEO of Wellpepper.
The company will use the $125,000 prize money to explore partnerships and look at go-to-market strategies for Sugarpod, a concept for an interactive diabetes care plan solution that provides tailored tasks based on patient preferences. It delivers patient experiences through text, email, web and a mobile application, and eventually through voice interfaces, as well.
Weiler said that since much of diabetes management occurs in the home, the Wellpepper team recognized that leveraging Amazon Alexa was the natural next step to make the Sugarpod platform more convenient for where patients are using it most. They have prototyped an Alexa-enabled scale and foot scanner that alerts patients about potential foot problems, which can be a common diabetes complication.
“People at the challenge were asking us where they could buy the scale and how much it cost,” said Weiler. “We had to tell them it was just a one-of-a-kind prototype. I’m still astounded by how much work our team did to get it made.”
Wellpepper’s solutions enable health care professionals to prescribe digital treatment programs that patients follow outside the clinic. The integration of voice technology takes them to a whole new level.
“We started with mobile, because it added a level of connection that people don’t get when they log in to a patient portal,” Weiler said. “We’re still scratching the surface in what voice can do.”