Diabetes is personal

According to the International Diabetes Federation, an estimated 463 million adults worldwide are living with diabetes. The disease, which affects everyone differently, is complex and costly to manage. Yet, most of the burden for care lands on the patients themselves, with many not in glycemic control. How could Medtronic, a global healthcare solutions company, help people living with diabetes in their daily management and help them keep their glucose levels in the target range?

We all live differently — different diets, exercise habits, sleep patterns, routines. What’s more, we each react in our own way to certain events and work demands and respond differently to the food we eat. For diabetes management to be more effective, it has to be more individualized.


Design a personal diabetes assistant

Medtronic worked with IBM iX® and IBM Watson Health® teams to develop the Sugar.IQ personal diabetes assistant, an intelligent app powered by IBM Watson® cognitive computing technology. Sugar.IQ is designed to make daily diabetes management smarter and more personalized than ever before. The app continually analyzes how an individual’s glucose levels respond to food, insulin intake, daily routines and other factors. By uncovering patterns and real-time, eye-opening insights, people can understand their glucose in context to their lifestyle choices.

Using the IBM Design Thinking framework and principles, the iX team partnered with Medtronic to develop the app’s user interface and user experience, and assisted in delivering an end-to-end solution. Features include a smart food logging system, motivational insights, a glycemic assistant, a data tracker and glycemic insights, Glycemic Assist event tracking, and personalized diabetes insights. The team also strategized ways to incorporate cognitive capabilities into the app and researched a way to differentiate this app from other diabetes apps in the market today.

The Sugar.IQ personal diabetes assistant is exclusively available to Guardian Connect continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) customers on insulin injections and is available for iOS-based mobile devices in the US.

We wouldn’t have been able to make this project a reality without the partnership, technology and expertise of IBM. The IBM team collaboration helped us deliver a truly unique patient experience, leveraging their experts in design, cognitive computing and mobile app development — all within a quality control management system.”

Amit Singh, IT Director of Digital Platforms, Medtronic


Improved quality of life with more time living in a healthy glucose range

The Sugar.IQ app is already helping to enhance lives, providing people with diabetes new cognitive insights that weren’t available until now.

In June 2018, Medtronic presented real-world data at the 78th Annual American Diabetes Association (ADA) Scientific Sessions showing that patients with Medtronic 530G pumps who used the Sugar.IQ app for a period of four months spent an average of 36 minutes more per day in healthy glucose range than they did before using the app. This included an average of 30 minutes less time per day in hyperglycemia (>180 mg/dL) and six minutes less time per day in hypoglycemia (<70 mg/dL).¹ If these averages are applied over a full year, they would represent an average of more than nine additional days per year in a healthy glucose range. Researchers also noted that the number of episodes with low glucose levels decreased by 0.95 per month and high episodes decreased on average by 1.22 a month.²


For more about the app, watch the video Introducing the Sugar.IQ diabetes assistant. Read more about IBM and Medtronic in this Medtronic case study.

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¹ Usage of Sugar.IQ app was analyzed based on data from 256 randomly offered, real-world MiniMed 530G users from April to August 2017.
² Users remained on 530G threshold suspend during the observed period.