What have you eaten today? Can’t remember? Well, you’re not alone. Most people don’t put much thought into their daily food choices, and by lunchtime, they have trouble remembering what they ate for breakfast.
Now, imagine if you had to plan out each one of your meals and their nutritional contents, prick your finger a couple of times a day, and keep track of everything that goes into your body. Welcome to the life of a diabetic.
According to the World Health Organization, the worldwide prevalence of diabetes has risen from 4.7% in 1980 to 8.5% in 2014. In 2015, diabetes was the direct cause of approximately 1.6 million deaths, and high blood glucose contributed to another 2.2 million deaths in 2012.
Clearly, diabetes is a serious problem and one that is not easy to fix. But, two of the 11 digital health startups currently undergoing our accelerator program have accepted the challenge and are working towards making diabetes more manageable through the use of their innovative mobile apps.
On the right track
Hedia, a Danish startup has created an intuitive app that helps diabetics track their insulin intake. Peter Lucas, one of the company’s founders, has been living with type I diabetes since 2010, so, the topic is very much close to his heart.
Having tried app after app in an attempt to manage his diabetes, he has found that the “one size fits all” technology just doesn’t fit all, after all. That’s why he has developed a new machine learning algorithm that adapts to each individual user.
How does it work?
It’s quite simple: once the user types in their blood sugar levels, what they’re going to eat and their activity level, Hedia then calculates and suggests the recommended insulin dosage.
With the mobile app’s self-learning algorithms, the more the app user makes use of it, the more accurate it becomes at predicting their needed insulin intake to better accommodate their needs.
“I want to make the lives of people with diabetes easier. I want to make my own life easier. If I can eat candy with my daughter on Fridays, go out and watch football with my friends on Saturdays, and be regulated on Sundays, that is the perfect outcome, and this is what Hedia is helping me to achieve”, explains Peter.
Less is more
Another startup tackling the issue head-on is Germany based Jommi. The company has developed a multitude of health-related apps, all designed with simplicity in mind.
Thanks to feedbacks from some of their initial one million users, they have decided to apply their expertise to the challenges faced by diabetics. The idea is a platform solution for type II diabetics since these patients need to strongly focus on diet and activity to regulate their blood sugar.
A carb unit (CU) calculator was the first, purpose-built app designed to help diabetics count (and keep track of) their carbohydrate intake. Carb counting is crucial in tracking and regulating blood glucose levels (BGL) for patients who are not yet on medication or use insulin.
By using their expertise in behavioral psychology and nutritional science, the minds behind Jommi are now adding ways for people to log data, beyond food intake and activity (weight, BGL, and even a patient’s ongoing emotional status, for example).
The app has recently won the seal of approval from the four major German diabetes associations.
“The idea is that a patient can simply take his personal data and see a healthcare professional of his/her choice. Since all the data is available right there, he/she will always get the best possible treatment options,” explains Fabian Oertel, founder of Jommi.
“Both doctors and patients have wasted too much time trying to remember past records. Jommi’s solutions will dramatically increase the effectiveness of consultations for millions of doctors visits each year”, concludes Fabian.
On November 30, Hedia and Jommi will, alongside all the startups accelerated by Startupbootcamp Digital Health Berlin this semester, pitch their solutions to over 300 potential investors and digital health enthusiasts during Startupbootcamp’s Demo Day.
Click here to register and witness the final major showcase of our startups.