October 19, 2018
Diabetes, though less deadly at first blush, actually make patients suffer more pains.
Modern society sees more occurrence of diabetes, and also sees more possibilities of managing and controlling this thorny illness by much-touted “mobile health”. Mobile health (mHealth) is define as “the provision of health services and information via mobile technologies such as mobile phones”, according to the World Health Organization.
Massive demands in managing diabetes and widespread use of mobile phones spawned a variety of mobile health apps or gadgets, as diabetes is a data-driven disease that should be controlled with clinically-based instructions and total compliance. Though many existing mobile health products have moved toward public acceptance, questions like efficiency and safety, regulation and approval, privacy, and cost-effectiveness still abound with them.
Some established U.S. health media or information providers like ScienceSoft and Medical News Today have voiced their critical insights in recent years, noting that homogenization and scarce scientific support are compromising the effectiveness of diabetes mobile health products, which may further hurts costumers’ confidence. Amid a mood of cautious optimism, it’s hardly to believe that, Dnurse Technology, a Chinese mobile health start-up dedicated to diabetes management, could live up to patient and market’s expectations.
Founded in July 2013, Dnurse Technology, one of the China largest mobile health company for diabetes management, has rolled out a string of mobile glucometer and clinically-based apps for both domestic and global users.
Dnurse has a strong foothold in China’s market, but whether it could avoid its global counterparts’ defects and win over global market, more aspects need to be tested.
To keep diabetics fully informed is easy, but cultivate their total compliance is hard
The first key to diabetes mobile products is to cultivate patients’ compliance with products but not to merely keep them fully informed as many people assumed.
Most mobile apps or devices are now capable of offering medical information or personalized instructions for patients, according to a study by Singapore Medical Association News in 2017. And getting used to mobile phone cannot guarantee that patients would remain glued to these apps or devices. So here comes mobile health providers’ top consideration: how to keep customers actively stimulated and engaged with their products, and how to translate their interests into the sustained use of products.
Many mobile health apps’ failures to develop customers’ allegiance is not because of technologies, but “the incentives and institutions of the delivery system into which the technologies are being introduced”, Harvard Business Review said in a report in April 2018.
In this aspect, Dnurse is not satisfied with just pooling health information for diabetics. Since most diabetics still have a rooted trust in physicians and clinicians, Dnurse implants a model themed “Smart Devices + All APPs (Patient + Doctor + Hospital + WeChat) ”in its products. Through this model, the most important feature to any mobile health products — synchronization with personal data for advanced control over the diabetics’ condition was acquired.
In this way, Dnurse’s users could save their costs and easily get in touch with health professionals they trust, and thus develop a round-the-clock loyalty toward Dnurse. Meanwhile, loyalty from health institutions is also developed too. As this model helps health institutions to better manage large number of patients with a lower cost, Durse is able to expect more products promoted among patients.
Naturally, patients and health institutions are proved to be both kept highly engaged.
It is worth noting that, Dnurse is right now working on keeping patients glued to the routine use of insulin, a must for diabetics. The scientific evidence has showed that missing insulin injection because of traveling, tight schedule, and forgetfulness has become a new normal. In this context, Dnurse rolled out its InsulinK in 2016, a ring-like gadget installed on the insulin pen with which patients can collect injection dosage and identify injection time by audio capturing and acoustic processing technology, in connection with APPs/WeChat through Bluetooth. Compared with traditional glucometer, Dnurse’s InsulinK turn to routinizing patients’ the use of insulin, undoubtedly bringing it a step closer to enhance patients’ compliance.
All things considered, Dnurse’s efforts to revolutionize diabetes management by nurturing patients’ compliance have currently won recognition from some multinational pharmaceutical titans like Novo Nordisk.
Without scientific support, mobile health products’ vitality comes to nothing
Three years ago, ScienceSoft, a US-headquartered provider of IT consulting services and custom software development, found that just 5% of health care apps for chronic disease in U.S. market are created based on rigorous research.
Without a reliable scientific support from health institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and even advanced technology like AI or big data, most diabetes mobile health products can only perform simple glucose self-monitoring and instruction-providing.
However, how to translate clinical and behavioral evidence and technical capabilities into measurable, reproducible, and evidence-based mobile health solutions to drive outcomes is key to their success. Many diabetes mobile health products, as a result, have to encounter harsh criticism and doubts about their effectiveness as they have no reliable partners or technical means to justify their virtues.
How about Dnurse? Currently Dnurse has seen a close-knit network with chain pharmacies, health care institutions, and specialist hospitals. Take a closer look, Dnurse has done more: Dnurse and Taikang Life Insurance, one of the largest life insurers in China, jointly put forward their first diabetes commercial insurance product in 2015; Dnurse has been operating “Diabetes Web” Wechat account and micro website; Dnurse is trying to achieve a better analysis of glucose readings in collaboration with Guangzhou DMK Medical Devices, an amalgamated corporation operating import ophthalmic medical facility and consumables in China.
Apart from its professional partners, Dnurse knows that another key is its convincing hardware into which key measurements such as blood pressure, insulin level, heart rate, and weight should also be incorporated. It independently developed IDSS (Intelligent Decision Support System), a smart “care-giver” that gives patients real-time suggestion based on more than 10,000 real diabetes scenarios. And unlike other mobile health providers who only have either software or hardware, Dnurse works on both sides, delivering a well-developed line-up ranging from mobile glucometer, insulin tracker, multi parameter monitor to apps for both patients and doctors.
Based on these scientific dimensions, Dnurse’s sustained development in the days to come may not a pipe dream.
Cost-effectiveness and high adaptability herald more market share
If a diabetes mobile health start-up wants to survive and succeed, customers’ loyalty and scientific support are far from enough. Only by allowing its partners to see more cost cuts and possibilities, its vision of getting more market share would be realized.
To get access to patients beyond, diabetes mobile health providers must first get access to local partners. Cost-effectiveness is the first factor in appealing to local partners. Taking Dnurse’s most important partner BeatO, a smart diabetes care & management app in India, as an example.
BeatO, starting its partnership with Dnurse in 2015, successfully reaped two rounds of financing in 2018 through introducing Dnurse’s cost-saving products and economical beliefs. As Dnurse spared many Indian customers’ troubles in frequenting doctors and affording expensive medical care, Dnurse has given a incessant impetus to BeatO’s business in India with its diabetes mobile health devices and IDSS.
High adaptability plays a big role too. As ScienceSoft has noted, many diabetes mobile health products in western countries are excessively dependent on existing well-developed medical systems and highly-educated medical staff. If these product step into developing countries’ markets without any precautions, they would find themselves stuck in stagnancy due to the local’s weak medical systems and scarce services.
To Dnurse, high adaptability to different countries, especially developing countries, seems to one of their advantages. With a fully-developed diabetes analysis and treatment database, close ties with local leading mobile health providers, and supports from multinational corporations, Dnurse is creating its own niche in overseas markets.
For example, Dnurse also set up its own membership network for overseas market— Dnurse Wanjia Chronic Membership System where registered patients would obtain most-needed medicines from chain drugstores, private clinics, or community health center, through China’s messaging app Wechat in a real-time, all-weather manner. This system has currently established close links with around 300 chain pharmacies and 200 health care institutions in China and beyond. With this system in place, Dnurse is allowed to extend its footprints to Indonesia, Pakistan, and other emerging markets.
Furthermore, Dnurse is also expected to cooperate with more insurers in China and beyond, leading to a further cut in these insurers’ costs and patients’ medical expenses.
All things considered, Dnurse is expected to fill in the gaps left by western diabetes mobile health providers.
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