Livongo will work with Apple Watch and other wearables to nudge you into healthy habits
Livongo, a company that focuses on using technology to help people manage chronic conditions, announced on Wednesday that it will connect to wearables including the Apple Watch, Fitbit, and Samsung’s Gear smartwatch to provide health-related reminders and nudges to its customers.
Wearables were once focused on fitness. Now, they’re increasingly being used to help people manage medical conditions, like diabetes and heart disease. This could make these devices more popular, transforming them from a “nice to have” into a “must have” for a subset of people, and open up new revenue models, such as getting insurance companies to subsidize the devices for their customers. In the U.S. alone, 6 in 10 American adults suffer from at least one chronic disease.
Livongo trying to avoid ‘alert fatigue’
Livongo was founded in 2014 and started with technology that employees with diabetes can use to manage their disease, such as connected glucose meters, test strips and lancets. It also offers health coaching via its mobile apps.
The company built its core business by selling its service to dozens of self-insured employers, including Amazon, Microsoft and Walgreens, as well as health plans. The insurers cover the cost, which means employees get Livongo’s service at no cost. Livongo now claims 164,000 active users, and is expected to be among the first so-called “digital health” companies to go public this year.
Now, the company says the Livongo app will work with smartwatches to send notifications to help patients manage their diseases. For example, a Livongo user’s Apple Watch might alert them to take a blood sugar reading in the morning before breakfast, which can be an insightful metric for people with diabetes, or to suggest they eat low-starch veggies before lunch or to swap out a sugary beverage for soda.
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