Technology is changing the way people manage their health, says Andy Flanagan, CEO of Telcare, which recently received FDA clearance for its cellular blood glucose meter with cloud functionality. HME News spoke with Flanagan recently about the benefits of technology and how he sees it bending the cost curve for diabetes care in the U.S.
HME News: How does the Telcare system work?
Andy Flanagan: As soon as you pull the blood glucose strip, the device transmits the data to the cloud, which immediately sends the data back to a mobile app on your phone. There’s no synching, no cables. It could show up on your family phone; it could be sent to your physician or your spouse. Our app also allows you to input exercise, carb counts and dosage, and take input from other sources, like Fitbit. We’re trying to simplify life for somebody living with diabetes with as few touches as possible.
HME: Is it easier to intervene when data is viewed in real time?
Flanagan: The real value is when there’s a data point that indicates a pattern of high low glucose or someone is just having a hard time. It arrives in a period of time where you can do something to intervene and prevent a hospitalization. It also reinforces the connection that, if someone’s watching, I’ll behave differently than if no one is watching.
HME: Are payers willing to pay for technology?
Flanagan: More often than not, payers are paying more for value adds, especially in diabetes, and trying to be more proactive. We’re not trying to do something foreign; we have reinvented the legacy blood glucose meter for the next generation.
HME: Telcare recently conducted a survey in which 63% of respondents don’t know the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Did that surprise you?
Flanagan: I was surprised it was so high. We want to make this an open topic. That kind of percentage shouldn’t exist when we are talking about $245 billion in medical costs and reduced productivity.
HME: How can technology reduce costs those costs down the road?
Flanagan: I do believe that this type of innovation provides both direct medical expense reductions for the U.S. and increased awareness of the costs of diabetes. People are open to the idea of innovative technology to help close this gap.