Merck KGaA, GlucoMe to pilot remote, digital diabetes care in Vietnam

Earlier this year, GlucoMe began integrating its digital platform into diabetes clinics and software in India and Central America. (Pixabay)

Merck KGaA has tapped digital diabetes platform provider GlucoMe for a pilot collaboration in several hospitals across Vietnam, comparing its system to the current standard of care in the country with the fastest-growing rate of the disease in Southeast Asia.

According to the World Bank, diabetes affects about 5 million of the 92.7 million people in Vietnam, or 5.4%. In addition, a lack of resources to diagnose, monitor and treat the disease at local community health centers requires patients to travel long distances to reach district, provincial or national hospitals for appointments.

“Digital diabetes care has particular value for countries with high prevalence but with limited resources for monitoring and treating the condition,” GlucoMe CEO Yiftah Ben-Aharon said in a statement.

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GlucoMe’s digital solution will initially be installed at five hospitals, allowing patients to use wireless blood glucose monitors to measure blood sugar levels at home.

“We have been impressed by the connectivity and simplicity of GlucoMe’s solution, allowing physicians to make data-driven decisions while providing patients with stripped-down, easy-to-use devices that are automatically connected to their smartphones,” said Daniel Ruggiero, global head of diabetes strategy for the German Merck’s biopharma business.

Clinical data will be synced through a mobile app and routed through GlucoMe’s digital diabetes clinic and alert system, with staff being able to monitor patients and hopefully intervene more efficiently than the face-to-face standard of care, as well as prioritize urgent cases.

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“GlucoMe’s platform has the potential to trigger an overall paradigm shift in the treatment of diabetes in Vietnam and across emerging markets, through the help of cutting-edge technology,” Ruggiero said.

In the first half of this year, GlucoMe began integrating its digital platform in diabetes clinics in India and Central America.

In India, Apollo Hospitals Group’s new national diabetes program began delivering home-care kits, including GlucoMe’s wireless monitors and other equipment, to hundreds of thousands of patients. More than 69 million people in India, or 8.7% of the adult population, are living with diabetes, GlucoMe said, with that number expected to rise to 79.4 million by 2030.

GlucoMe also partnered with the Norwegian electronic medical record company DiaMan AS, to bring its platform to market in Guatemala, Panama and the Dominican Republic, with plans to expand to Costa Rica, Nicaragua and the rest of Central America.

Its digital platform will be linked to DiaMan’s EMR software, with DiaMan leading distribution. The company expects to reach a total of 70,000 users in two to three years in the region, which is home to about 7 million people with diabetes, or about 8% of the adult population.