Medtronic, IBM unveil app that could predict hypoglycaemia up to three hours in advance

Medtronic and IBM unveiled a research prototype of an app that in tests has been shown to be capable of predicting hypoglycaemic events in people with diabetes as early as three hours in advance. IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty called that the app's ability to predict a hypoglycaemic event a "breakthrough," adding "up to three hours in advance is what prevents dangerous health events from happening."

Specifically, the app combines the information gathered from a patient’s insulin pump and glucose monitor with information taken from the individual’s activity trackers and diet, and uses pattern recognition garnered from IBM's Watson technology to provide feedback on how a patient can manage their diabetes. Rometty noted that the app needs to go through regulatory review and will be launched this summer.

According to the companies, when the app was applied to 600 patient cases using data from Medtronic diabetes monitoring devices, it was able to predict hypoglycaemia up to three hours in advance of onset. Medtronic and IBM noted that "the goal is to interpret the available data and act as a personal assistant."

Hooman Hakami, president of Medtronic's diabetes group, said in collaboration with IBM, the company wants to anticipate how a person’s behaviour will affect their blood-glucose levels and help them make choices to improve their health. Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak added the goal is to "make management of diabetes something you don’t notice."

For more information on the opportunities that exist for healthcare apps, see Patient-Centric Mobile Apps: Key Opportunities and Challenges for Pharma.

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