CEO: Rick Altinger
Based: Palo Alto, CA
The scoop: Glooko has spent the last year partnering with almost every company that matters in the diabetes device space. It aims to make data from all sorts of diabetes devices including blood glucose meters, continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps accessible to doctors and their patients. Most diabetics don't download their data for further analysis, let alone use it for anything other than moment-to-moment decision-making that's typically just about medication and diet. Glooko is aiming to not only capture that data, but also offer tools for patients and physicians to use it in combination with other information to more closely manage diabetic patients. In fact, demonstrating its value via patient outcomes data with its partners is slated next.
What makes Glooko Fierce: In this era of almost constant hype for big data, Glooko reminds us to start with the basics. How do you get diabetes data out of individual devices? And, once it's out, what do you do with it to make it useful for doctors and patients? The startup hopes it has an industry-wide answer to both of those questions.
It's made huge strides on the partnership front, inking deals with seemingly everyone including Abbott Laboratories ($ABT), Medtronic ($MDT), Roche ($RHHBY), Dexcom ($DXCM) and Bayer. And the startup will have patient outcomes data for Type 2 diabetics at an October conference.
The company is working on increasing its compatibility with diabetes devices from various providers with a recent rollout of a Roche one. Most prominently, it will work on making Abbott's FreeStyle Libre compatible with its system. It's a highly anticipated blood glucose monitor that works via a small, adhesive sensor on the arm and doesn't require a twice-daily finger stick for calibration, which is the industry norm for CGMs. It launched in the EU last year, with a U.S. launch expected next.
Glooko CEO Rick Altinger told FierceMedicalDevices that he sees a "perfect storm" of factors coming together to pull diabetes data into the cloud for analysis and to make that data accessible as a source of insights at the individual and population. He cites the prevalence of smartphones, the heterogeneity of devices that Glooko supports and the incentive-based healthcare and wellness initiatives that providers and larger employers are starting to employ.
In addition to its app for analyzing diabetes data, Glooko can feed the data into almost any electronic health record. Its initial targets have been large healthcare groups, but it also recently launched a kiosk initiative to help private practices convert their patients.
Altinger estimates that Glooko is already working with tens of thousands of patients and hundreds of healthcare providers. At a kiosk placed in a healthcare practice, patients can be walked through the process of downloading their diabetes device data.
"The kiosk simplifies workflow and gives access to actionable data," said Altinger. "We have completed integration with Epic, we can now integrate with many electronic health records. You just click on the patient name and that launched the Glooko data. The kiosk is part of what we've been trying to do with large healthcare groups. There's demand from private practices, looking for downloading in the clinic.
That's a process which typically eludes patients and providers--the latter typically don't have this data to keep in their records or to monitor over time. This is particularly problematic with diabetes since a high proportion, estimated at about 50%, of diabetics remain uncontrolled at any given stage of the disease. Periods of uncontrolled blood glucose are thought to contribute to the progression of the disease--and ultimately to lead to severe and costly complications such as blindness and amputations.
Up next, Glooko is starting to work with biopharma companies looking to work with the data and analysis that the startup offers in their clinical trials and beyond.
"What if we could design our system so we can duplicate that monitoring that took place in a clinical trial?" Altinger said biopharmas are querying. They are asking Glooko to "help us build in the right analytics and decision support. They see Glooko's platform as bringing together the device, payer, pharma all aligned around better patient outcomes."
What to look for: Patient outcomes data and partnership advancement. Glooko likely won't be a pioneer for long--there's too much at stake. In fact, Royal Philips ($PHG) recently rolled out a major diabetes initiative that integrates data collected in an app with electronic medical records. To protect its turf, the startup needs to gain adoption and usage momentum with healthcare providers and patients. To help it do that Glooko needs to present a lot of impressive patient outcomes data to convince everyone it's worth the bother and expense. Also, keep an eye on all those recently inked partnerships to see what comes of them.
-- Stacy Lawrence (email | Twitter)
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