Using Data in the Fight Against Diabetes in Mexico

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Almost a sixth of the adult population in Mexico suffers from diabetes and that number is only expected to grow.

The diabetes epidemic in Mexico holds massive implications. It profoundly impacts the health of individual Mexicans and negatively affects the country’s socioeconomic development. The Mexican government is working hard to not only combat the diabetes, but prevent it. For example, it launched a “soda tax,” which increases the price of sugary drinks 10 percent and the price of junk food 8 percent, to deter consumption.

This was the impetus behind IBM and Tienda Diabetes’ decision to team up to launch Farmacia Online, the first-ever specialized online drugstore in Mexico. Farmacia Online provides diabetes patients with affordable same-day delivery options for medications and treatments, as well as personalized care.

Innovations in mobile health also allow people to take a more active role in managing their own health. By utilizing analytic insights gleaned from mobile devices, guidance and feedback are given to patients based on their unique monitoring and medications. Technologies that monitor blood sugar are potentially life-saving, as they detect often subtle, but serious symptoms.

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There is also a huge opportunity for wearable devices to transform the way we manage diabetes and other chronic-degenerative diseases. Enterprises, device manufacturers, and app makers are working hard to deliver data-driven technology that intuitively looks at the relationship between physical activity and disease.

Generating insights from wearable devices and translating them into meaningful and actionable tools for better health-related decision-making is key. With this ability, healthcare professionals will able to provide personalized risk assessments based on physical activity, body type, age, gender, and even job category. Combined with the advancement of technology and predictive analytics, we can quantify how our behavior impacts our health, and set goals that are customized and meaningful.

Mexico is not alone in this fight.

There were 387 million diabetics worldwide last year and by 2035, that number is expected to be 592 million.

We live in an era of medical discovery in which we can understand more and more about the unique biological and behavioral differences of individuals and their respective health care needs and now we have the technologies that enable us to quickly obtain key data to successfully fight against diabetes.

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