Piet Hein van Dam and Madelon Bracke provide data-driven and personal nutritional advice to patients with type 2 diabetes with Clear.bio.
What: Healthcare app against type 2 diabetes
Who: Piet Hein van Dam (56) and Madelon Bracke (52)
Challenges: pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers and insurers
Type 2 diabetes is an unpleasant condition whose consequences are usually combated with pills and expensive aids. Piet Hein van Dam and Madelon Bracke are convinced that patients can also tackle diabetes with the right diet.
With their health tech company Clear.bio they provide data-driven, 100 percent personal nutritional advice. Users use the Clear.bio app to record everything they eat and drink and measure their blood sugar in real time with a sensor on the upper arm. Thanks to tips and guidance from a dietitian, the app gives them insight into how their blood sugar levels respond to food and helps them adjust their diet.
“By making small, smart adjustments to your diet and with the help of dieticians behind the chat button in the app, you can improve your blood sugar levels at home,” says Van Dam. Clear.bio claims a significant reduction in their blood sugar levels for 69 percent of users and 25 percent are even completely out of the risk zone.
Reimbursed diabetes care
With its approach, Clear.bio challenges the established order of pharmaceutical companies. ‘A chronic patient is a gold mine for them. And health insurers only reimburse hours worked by healthcare providers and not the results of digital healthcare providers, even if they help prevent diseases.’
The established order now seems to be getting used to the new data-driven approach that Clear.bio has packaged in a consumer product. The Achmea Innovation Fund even invested in the self-help app last year, which previously received funding from regional investor Horizon and Healthy.Capital, among others.
‘We have recently been able to use it as reimbursed diabetes care by general practitioners in the Netherlands.’ Clear.bio is currently conducting various studies with universities and pilots with care groups. After a successful implementation study, Rijnmond Dokters is the first healthcare group in the Netherlands to work with Clear.bio, and we are also working on our international expansion.’
But there is still some way to go to break through the resistance to disruptive innovation in healthcare and to achieve good reimbursement conditions. ‘That is why we make our innovation ‘small’ and say that we are not actually innovative at all, that we offer ordinary ‘regular dietetic care’. This way we fit into the policy rules and within the budgets.’
Van Dam and Bracke will be a serious international player in three years’ time: ‘Then we will be reimbursed and prescribed in the five largest countries in Europe, in Brazil, and in the Netherlands, of course.’