Most diabetes management solutions on the market today function as logbooks for keeping track of blood glucose levels and some connect to Bluetooth enabled glucometers to make the collection of this data quite simple. However, as anyone with diabetes knows, the measurement of blood glucose levels alone do not paint the entire picture of your condition or your progress towards meeting goals set by your clinician. Diet, exercise, sleep, stress, body weight, and medication compliance all play an important role in mitigating the impacts of the disease but these can be daunting to manage for anyone suffering from diabetes, let alone a youth or young adult recently diagnosed.
Along with contributions from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Healthwise, & the University of Ottawa, we’ve developed a diabetes care management solution that builds upon the features of many logbook applications as part of a larger, more holistic solution that gains context from multiple devices and patient data to help youth with type 2 diabetes better manage their care.
At its core, My Diabetes Coach is a cloud application that leverages a companion mobile app to collect data from a variety of connected devices like sleep trackers, weight scales, blood glucose monitors, and patient entered data like daily food intake. The cloud application also pulls data from Healthwise, a rich library of content for both physicians and patients on managing various diseases, and converts it into a format that will lend itself well to providing guidance to the patient. The Alexa skill makes entering data quick and easy, while also allowing the patient to ask questions about their daily targets or for help with food choices to keep them on track.
My Diabetes Coach in Practice
Clinicians and parents play an important role in setting specific goals and objectives for a diabetic patient to achieve and to reinforce those goals and objectives, but they are often not enough. My Diabetes Coach complements and enhances the initiatives of the clinician and members of the patient’s circle of care. The voice interface is used to provide access to typically asked questions and is used to improve patient engagement by making patient information that much more efficient to capture or access.
Through elements of gamification, the voice skill can also encourage and reward patients who are monitoring and managing their care effectively while providing advice and guidance to those that are struggling. The conversational user experience developed for the skill is designed to establish a relationship with the patient and provide guidance and mentorship as a trusted coach would. By understanding the patient’s context and integrating an AI engine to deliver relevant and empathetic responses to voice queries, the solution provides customized care for each user according to their specific needs.
How Did We Build It?
My Diabetes Coach is built upon Macadamian’s proprietary application-development system called Hive. Hive takes a backend as a service (BaaS) approach and aggregates common pre-built microservices, or cells, that include authentication, authorization, data storage modeling, notifications and background processing.
The solution is comprised of a custom developed mobile application that runs on both iOS and Android and provides direct connection to Bluetooth enabled devices (such as a weight scale, blood glucometer, Fitbit or other wearables), allowing the patient to record the necessary information from wherever they are located. The mobile application integrates with Alexa via AVS calls to enable access to the MyCoach skill when the patient is out of the house.
The Alexa Skill and mobile application are supported by a cloud based backend application that communicates directly to the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) and provides data storage for any patient information. Patient Health Information (PHI) is stored separately from other data in a manner that ensures HIPAA compliance.
The MyCoach Alexa skill is integrated into the cloud application so that it can leverage data collected from the mobile application and patient portal (and stored in a common database) to provide customized responses according to how well the patient is managing their care and according to the specific goals set by the clinician.
The My Diabetes Coach solution is designed to improve and strengthen the teamwork between parent and child in diabetes management. Establishing and encouraging good practices and patient compliance at an early stage will provide significant benefits to the patients over the years by mitigating the complications that can result from non-compliance.
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