Livongo’s blood glucose meter is the first with downloadable updates

While we’re used to getting smartphone software updates wirelessly, the same couldn’t be said for blood glucose meters—until now. Livongo is rolling out its second-gen glucose meter with “over-the-air” capabilities, enabling users to receive updates on the go and manage their diabetes even better.

The Livongo glucose meter is part of the company’s cloud-based Livongo for Diabetes program, the company said in a statement. The company aims to reduce the burden of managing diabetes by delivering a contract plan with sponsors—a health plan, health system, or self-insured employer—that uses its connected glucose meter and data analytics to return actionable and personalized insights to patients, said Amar Kendale, senior vice president, product. With the program, patients also have access to certified diabetes educators at any time, which can help them get their glucose levels under control as quickly as possible.

While Livongo’s meter has always been connected to the cloud, the new “over-the-air” capability allows the system to provide patients with feedback throughout the day. It also facilitates the product development process: developers are now able to iterate on the device quickly and make improvements without needing to upgrade the actual hardware, Kendale said.

“Over-the-air creates the possibility to give people a meter that is designed for their needs - making it easier for people to stay healthy.” said CEO Glen Tullman, in the statement. “And that’s what we want—to empower people with chronic conditions to manage their diseases and to live the lives they want.”

And the system solves problems on the provider side too: it helps to “broker the conversation” between the patient and the physician, Kendale said. The patient can send blood glucose data directly from the device to his or her physician’s office, including via fax. Data generated by the Livongo meter can also be integrated into electronic health records, streamlining physicians’ workflow.

While a number of continuous glucose monitors and even an "artificial pancreas" have been developed and approved over the last few years, Kendale notes that the majority of diabetics do not use these "latest and greatest" tools to manage their disease. The bulk of people with diabetes self-manage using a glucose meter, so Livongo built a platform around this device. As part of its program, it offers unlimited blood glucose test strips to encourage patients to check their glucose levels and better manage their diabetes without cost as a limiting factor.