Medtronic, IBM Watson launch Sugar.IQ diabetes assistant

    Two years after originally announcing it, Medtronic and IBM Watson have launched their joint platform the Sugar.IQ, a digital diabetes assistant. 

    “It is designed for people who are currently using Guardian Connect; so made for people on multiple daily injections. It is a personal assistant a little bit like Alexa or Siri,” Huzefa Neemuchwala, global head of digital health solutions and AI at Medtronic, said in a Facebook live informational session. “It is an intelligent assistant that keeps track of all of your information and has all of your information in one place. Then through Watson technology we use this information to power insights so we can better manage your diabetes so that you can spend more time in range.”

    The FDA-cleared technology will use IBM Watson Health’s artificial intelligence and analytics tools to help users see how their glucose levels react to certain foods, insulin dosages, and routines. 

    The goal is for the technology to show people about their patterns and how life style choices and medications impact their glucose ranges. The app’s features include a smart food logging system, motivational insights, a glycemic assistant, a data tracker and a glycemic insights feature. 

    This week Neemuchwala presented results of a recent study at the American Diabetes Association conference. His research revealed that patients who used the app spent 36 minutes more a day in the healthy glucose range than they did before using the app. The trial, which was made up of 256 users, found that users decreased their time above 180 mg/dL by 30 minutes per day and decrease their time under 70 mg/dL by six minutes per day. Researchers also noted that the number of episodes with low glucose levels decreased by .95 per month and high episodes decreased on average by 1.22 a month. 

    “People who are on multiple daily injections make about 50 to 100 different clinical decisions on a daily basis,” Neemuchwala said in the video. “People have told us over and over again, ‘Hey we need more than CGM technology’. Obviously CGM is at the heart of this data because you can track and see the data but there is more to it. They want to understand how all these different parameters effect their diabetes. For example,...If I had a big lunch how would that impact my diabetes. …These are questions that people have asked us and Sugar.IQ seeks to answer those questions. People have told us managing diabetes is like playing football in the dark….you don’t know who is going to hit you from what direction…you are trying to manage time in range but you have all these things that are going to effect your glucose control. Sugar.IQ is our attempt to shine light on this playing field for you. It is the discovery of all of these parameters that are effecting you personally in real-time intelligently.”

    Right now the app can be used with Medtronic Guardian Connect system, a continuous glucose monitoring system. Sugar.IQ is available for iOS-based phones that are located in the US. 

    In March, Medtronic landed FDA clearance for its Guardian Connect, a smartphone-connected standalone CGM for patients with multiple daily injections for their insulin. Medtronic’s close-loop system for pump users was originally cleared in 2016

    The Sugar.IQ was first announced in 2016 at CES and later demoed that year at Health 2.0. But at that point the product was about to undergo testing. Two years later the platform is finally ready for commercial use. 


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