Digital dietitian gives diabetes patients continuous feedback
A smart treatment for people with type 2 diabetes is now reimbursed within the care paths of general practitioners. Clear.bio’s treatment tackles the cause of the disease by providing patients with continuous insight and tips into what food and drink do to their blood sugar. This data-driven approach is effective and patient-friendly, and saves on healthcare costs. More than 1 million Dutch people have type 2 diabetes.
With the treatment developed in the Netherlands, two out of three patients lower their blood sugar levels. In the Clear.bio app, patients keep track of what they eat and drink during the day. A sensor on the arm provides insight into how this affects their blood sugar without taking blood samples. The app makes it easy for patients to avoid certain foods in the future, or to enjoy them carefree. And with a real dietician behind the chat button in the app, you have the right care in your pocket 24 hours a day, just when you need it.
A Clear.bio treatment lasts 12 weeks. Clinical research with patients shows that 80 percent of the participants have a better grip on the disease after that period. For 69 percent of the participants, the treatment resulted in a significant reduction of their blood sugar level (an eHbA1c reduction of 11.6 mmol/mol). And a quarter of people even fall below the risk limit.
Health insurers and authorities equate the treatment of Clear.bio with treatments by a regular dietician. With this, general practitioners and practice nurses can now use Clear.bio within their existing diabetes care, which is reimbursed by basic insurance. The treatment provides a net saving on healthcare costs of 375 million euros per year.
Thousands of new diabetes patients every week
In the Netherlands, 1.1 million people have type 2 diabetes. According to the Diabetes Fonds, a thousand new diabetes patients are added every week. An unhealthy lifestyle plays a major role in the development of the disease, particularly due to unhealthy eating and drinking.
To absorb sugar from food and drink, the body produces the hormone insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body no longer responds properly to insulin. As a result, too much sugar remains in the blood. This can be life-threatening and lead to other diseases and conditions.
For a long time, diabetes was treated with drugs and insulin injections that patients had to self-administer several times a day. However, the disease was not cured. What is new is tackling the cause, using real-time biodata and an app. With a healthier lifestyle, patients need less medication. Or they can even stop taking medication.
“Finding and sticking to the right diet can be difficult. Many guidelines come from books, but every body is unique,” says Piet Hein van Dam, the founder of Clear.bio. “The use of technology offers a solution. Real-time insight into the effect of nutrition on your own body is enlightening and motivating. The nutrition tips are easy to apply in everyday life. In addition, coaching is always available and much more accurate due to the use of the hundred percent personal data. From science we already know for a long time that everyone reacts differently to nutrition. After eating a banana the blood sugar rises more at one person than the other. Because you can now see that yourself on your phone, it is no longer necessary to avoid all foods with sugar. Technology puts an end to the one-size fits all diet approach. “
The self-care treatment can significantly improve the quality of life for the patient. Not only because patients gain insight into what they should and shouldn’t eat. Because patients can treat themselves at home, fewer visits to doctors and other health care providers are required. Moreover, the conversations of healthcare providers with these patients become more substantive. This is also positive for healthcare, a sector where the workload is high and staff shortages are large.
Less healthcare costs
Clear.bio’s treatment fits the trend of e-Health solutions that make healthcare better and more affordable. Between 2015 and 2040, healthcare expenditure will double, to 174 billion euros. This means an increase per person from 5,100 euros in 2015 to 9,600 euros in 2040. The data-driven treatment is particularly suitable for low-complexity, motivated diabetes patients. By using Clear.bio, these people can do what they can do at home themselves, and healthcare providers can focus more on complex patients who need more intensive and/or physical attention. Because the treatment for this target group is so clinically effective (the eHbA1c reduction is up to 3x better than existing treatments), it means an average cost saving of 1870 euros per participant per year and a net saving on healthcare costs of 375 million euros per year.