Back From CES 2016: Using Data To Drive Better Diabetes Outcomes

As we’re transforming into a holistic diabetes management company, our goal is to provide leading technologies that leverage data and informatics to provide insights to help you better manage your diabetes. Living with diabetes includes a lot of data points (as you know, with all of the numbers that float around in your head, from BG to carb counts!) Medtronic devices also generate a continuous stream of valuable health data, and as the volume of that data grows, we need the ability to analyze it for better insights, which will ultimately increase how effectively our devices will help your diabetes management. Our partnership with IBM Watson is helping us tackle this, and it’s going beyond just the data generated from our devices by combining additional health data to ease the burden of your daily management decisions.

Last week, we joined our partner IBM Watson at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), an annual event that attracts more than 170,000 people and introduces some of the most awe-inspiring consumer technology on the horizon. On Wednesday, Omar Ishrak, Medtronic’s CEO, joined IBM’s chairman, president and CEO Ginni Rometty onstage during her keynote address, demoing a concept for an app that will be jointly developed with IBM Watson Health. We plan to bring the app to market this year once it meets regulatory requirements.

The first-of-its-kind cognitive app will be designed to act as a personal assistant for people with diabetes by helping detect important patterns and trends in sensor glucose levels. A cognitive app leverages the computing ability of IBM Watson to translate a large amount of information from a wide variety of sources into insights relevant to an individual. As part of his presentation, Omar shared the results of an early research project that used Watson to retrospectively analyze a database of real-life data, which suggested we may be able to predict hypoglycemic events up to three hours in advance.

We plan to use Watson’s cognitive computer power to review detailed information, like the rate of insulin delivered, constantly fluctuating glucose levels, and carbohydrate intake information, from Medtronic insulin pumps and CGM. With your permission, we will share data securely and in real-time with the Watson health cloud for analysis.

We will also look to integrate additional information sources, such as wearable activity trackers, digital scales, geo-location data, calendar details, and even the weather, to develop relevant, real-time coaching, and personalized diabetes management insights. These insights will then be sent to the user’s smartphone via our Medtronic app as a notification so the user can decide what action to take. Since Watson is a cognitive computer, the more data it gets, the more it will learn.

Hooman Hakami | The LOOP BlogOur Diabetes Group president, Hooman Hakami, also participated in a CES panel discussion about hyperdata and the mobile future. Hyperdata is defined as the increasingly granular data sources now accessible via wireless technologies and the mobile cloud. We believe the future of healthcare will be driven by data, and the more data we collect from various data sources, the more we can extract patterns and improve predictive healthcare down to the individual patient level.

By combining new data sources and analyzing it in new ways, we hope to develop tools to improve the way you manage diabetes. Here are 3 ways hyperdata could help change the future of diabetes management:

1. Drive Personable, Actionable Insights: As you know, one of the biggest challenges for a person with diabetes is making the best decision with the relevant information you have at the time. Think about the data available to you today on a pump and CGM, like active insulin or trend arrows on your CGM screen. Before this information was available, you might have double stacked your insulin or not known your glucose was changing rapidly. This is an example of how current information available to you could change the outcome of the way you manage your diabetes, and there’s still a lot more we can learn and act on. We believe one big way to make a difference in diabetes management is to turn that data into even more personal actionable insights. Because we know the more meaningful data you have access to, the better you’ll be able to manage your diabetes.

2. Manage Conditions More Holistically: Unfortunately, some people with diabetes also face the challenge of other (sometimes related) health conditions like eye damage, nerve damage, and cardiovascular disease. In the Cardiac division of Medtronic, we have an implantable cardiac monitor that can help physicians diagnose and treat irregular heartbeats. Bringing data from these cardiac monitors together with our CGM systems could help integrate different pieces of information to provide new treatment opportunities to improve outcomes for you.

3. Help Solve a Global Problem: There is shortage of healthcare professionals around the world, but hyperdata can help. The combination of mobile technology, biometric sensors, and learning algorithms can really help an entire health system as it looks to more effectively and efficiently help people with diabetes around the world.

We are aiming to transform diabetes care by using advanced analytics, including Watson, to uncover critical insights from that data to drive better outcomes that will help patients, health care providers, and health systems. We look forward to sharing more of this journey with you in future posts!

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