GluCare Integrated Diabetes Centre, the world’s first healthcare provider to empower patients through Remote Continuous Data Monitoring as part of its standard care model has opened in Dubai.
Located on Al Wasl Road in Al Bada'a, GluCare, the region’s first healthcare provider to use Digital Therapeutics, offers those with diabetes a new, innovative, and empowering model of care. GluCare gives diabetics the tools, knowledge, and continuous support to live longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.
Conceptualised and developed in the UAE with partners in Silicon Valley, GluCare employs Remote Continuous Data Monitoring, an innovative and highly personalized ‘continuous healthcare’ model that provides clinicians with a comprehensive and real-time view of patients and their condition.
Digital Therapeutics (DTx) is also utilised in a regional first. A new subset of digital health, DTx uses software, often in the form of a mobile app to deliver clinical-grade therapeutic interventions to patients. DTx products may be used independently or as is the case with GluCare, in tandem with in-person or remote clinician-delivered therapy, to optimize patient outcomes. GluCare will also be the region’s first diabetes clinic to measure and report both remote compliance and clinical outcomes.
In the UAE, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes affects about 20 per cent of the total population, with an equal number of pre-diabetics. Compliance to diabetic care plans has always been a fundamental issue locally and internationally. In a 2014 study of diabetics in the Northern Emirates, 40% reported non-compliance to their care plans due to a number of reasons.
The opening of GluCare however comes as the global pandemic has underscored the urgent need for fundamental changes in the traditional model of diabetes care. Diabetics represented nearly 40% of Covid-19 fatalities in the UAE with an untold number of others facing interruption and access to care and related services.
For GluCare Co-Founder and Managing Director, Emirati entrepreneur Dr Ihsan Almarzooqi, GluCare’s model is transformative, and comes at a time when its needed most: “Diabetes is a 24/7 condition that traditionally relied on guesswork and a one-size-fits-all approach that we know doesn’t work for most patients – a fact that has been tragically highlighted during the pandemic. At GluCare, we’re empowering both patients and clinicians through using technology as a humanising force. Our ‘continuous healthcare’ model means better outcomes and better health for patients through more personalised care, increased compliance to care plans, and perhaps, a better way of doing things for all.”
REINVENTING DIABETES CARE
For patients, GluCare’s Remote Continuous Data Monitoring ‘continuous healthcare’ model and DTx are delivered in part through wearable and connected technology, and a proprietary platform that together measures and assesses over ten health parameters, believed to be more than any other healthcare provider in the world.
While care plans are highly personalised for each individual, all new diabetes patients at GluCare receive a starter kit during their first in-clinic visit. This includes a wearable “band” that measures heart rate and heart rate variability, respiration rate, physical activity, skin temperature, and sleep patterns; a wearable Continuous Glucose Monitor or Blood Glucose Device; and may include a smart Blood Pressure Monitor; and smart Weight Scale. This kit of connected devices collects and collates real-time data in a proprietary phone app that, combined with self-reported factors such as photos of meals and well-being questionnaires, are sent back in real-time to an AI and machine learning platform.
Through artificial intelligence and machine learning, real-time insights and risk factors are identified for each patient which, together with individual patient data across all measured parameters, are shared with GluCare’s expert care team of doctors, health coaches and nutritionists.
Access to this information in real-time allows the team to make timely decisions regarding the patient’s care – especially between routine visits. The identification of risk factors also allows GluCare’s care team to make necessary remote or in-clinic interventions to improve care and compliance, or to prevent, or improve outcomes for diabetes-related comorbidities including hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and sleep apnea.
Tailored and personal educational material, as well as two-way communication through the app between patients and health coaches and doctors, also adds a further element of support – boosting care plan compliance and reducing risk factors for patients.
“While technology underscores everything we’re doing at GluCare, the real innovation comes with taking that technology, data and AI, and using it to directly impact clinical outcomes in a way that is reflective of the challenges our patients face day in, day out. This empowers both our expert team of medical professionals– giving them access to real-time data – as well as our patients, who will find it easier to successfully manage their condition,” added Ali Hashemi, Co-Founder and Chairman.
Along with innovative technology, an in-house lab and pharmacy and unique in-clinic workflows mean a vastly different experience for GluCare patients, with minimal wait-times and no need for unnecessary visits.
Each visit to GluCare takes approximately 1-hour including consultation, diagnosis, investigation, treatment, and prescription. Outpatient specialties within the center include endocrinology, ophthalmology, cardiology, and podiatry. Patients will also able to check-in to their appointment in advance via the phone app, and even book complimentary non-emergency transport to and from the clinic which, along with added convenience, also helps stem the issue of appointment ‘no-shows’.
Under traditional models of care, diabetes, and related conditions take a huge emotional and economic toll on patients and their families, and on average account for 15% of all government health care expenditures in the Mena region.
While Remote Continuous Data Monitoring is a totally new concept, and DTx is relatively new within the medical sector, data from studies on their limited application in the United States – measuring blood glucose only – suggest great potential for improved diabetes patient outcomes, including a 21% reduction in death and a 43% reduction in peripheral vascular disease.
In the same study, intermittent tracking of only blood glucose with a DTx platform resulted in a total cost reduction on average of 22%, driven primarily by reduction in unnecessary patient visits (24.6%) and diabetes related medical costs (10.7%).
With GluCare’s Remote Continuous Data Monitoring and DTx platform measuring blood glucose along with over ten other parameters on an ongoing basis, the potential appears limitless.
“Diabetes not only affects those with the condition, it also affects their families and wider society. It is an emotional & financial burden for individuals and their families, and given its prevalence here in the UAE, its equally a burden for the country at large,” added Dr Almarzooqi.
“Since opening in early September, we have seen first-hand rapid improvements in patients, and the promising potential for their long-term outcomes. Through our data-driven and transparent approach, we can deliver continuous, cost-effective and improved quality of care and, in the process, help reduce both the devastating health and emotional costs for patients and their families, as well as wider socio-economic costs for society at large.”
At present, GluCare has partnered with several insurance providers including AXA, as well as Third Party Administrator, Neuron/NAS which includes Cigna Insurance.
Jerome Droesch, CEO MEA and SEA for Cigna commented: “We have witnessed an explosion of digital health over the last decade fueled by the emergence of social media platforms, wearables and cloud-based data platforms. This means, patients will expect the medical community to adopt and apply evidence-based behavioural treatments and therapeutic interventions online that are driven by software to manage or prevent a disease either independently or in coordination with medication to optimise health outcomes. This presents us with a unique opportunity to integrate advanced technology with clinical support to empower patients, their healthcare providers and payers.”-- Tradearabia News Service