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A beacon for diabetes mHealth? China’s start-up zeros in on overseas customers and markets

Diabetes, though less deadly at first blush, actually make patients suffer more pains. 

Modern society sees more occurrence of diabetes, and also sees more possibilities of managing and controlling this thorny illness by much-touted “mobile health”. Mobile health (mHealth) is define as “the provision of health services and information via mobile technologies such as mobile phones”, according to the World Health Organization. 

Massive demands in managing diabetes and widespread use of mobile phones spawned a variety of mobile health apps or gadgets, as diabetes is a data-driven disease that should be controlled with clinically-based instructions and total compliance. Though many existing mobile health products have moved toward public acceptance, questions like efficiency and safety, regulation and approval, privacy, and cost-effectiveness still abound with them. 

Some established U.S. health media or information providers like ScienceSoft and Medical News Today have voiced their critical insights in recent years, noting that homogenization and scarce scientific support are compromising the effectiveness of diabetes mobile health products, which may further hurts costumers’ confidence. Amid a mood of cautious optimism, it’s hardly to believe that, Dnurse Technology, a Chinese mobile health start-up dedicated to diabetes management, could live up to patient and market’s expectations.

Founded in July 2013, Dnurse Technology, one of the China largest mobile health company for diabetes management, has rolled out a string of mobile glucometer and clinically-based apps for both domestic and global users. 

Dnurse has a strong foothold in China’s market, but whether it could avoid its global counterparts’ defects and win over global market, more aspects need to be tested. 

To keep diabetics fully informed is easy, but cultivate their total compliance is hard.

The first key to diabetes mobile products is to cultivate patients’ compliance with products but not to merely keep them fully informed as many people assumed. 

Most mobile apps or devices are now capable of offering medical information or personalized instructions for patients, according to a study by Singapore Medical Association News in 2017. And getting used to mobile phone cannot guarantee that patients would remain glued to these apps or devices. So here comes mobile health providers’ top consideration: how to keep customers actively stimulated and engaged with their products, and how to translate their interests into the sustained use of products. 

Many mobile health apps’ failures to develop customers’ allegiance is not because of technologies, but “the incentives and institutions of the delivery system into which the technologies are being introduced”, Harvard Business Review said in a report in April 2018. 

In this aspect, Dnurse is not satisfied with just pooling health information for diabetics. Since most diabetics still have a rooted trust in physicians and clinicians, Dnurse implants a model themed “Smart Devices + All APPs (Patient + Doctor + Hospital + WeChat) ”in its products. Through this model, the most important feature to any mobile health products — synchronization with personal data for advanced control over the diabetics’ condition was acquired.

In this way, Dnurse’s users could save their costs and easily get in touch with health professionals they trust, and thus develop a round-the-clock loyalty toward Dnurse. Meanwhile, loyalty from health institutions is also developed too. As this model helps health institutions to better manage large number of patients with a lower cost, Durse is able to expect more products promoted among patients. 

Naturally, patients and health institutions are proved to be both kept highly engaged. 

It is worth noting that, Dnurse is right now working on keeping patients glued to the routine use of insulin, a must for diabetics. The scientific evidence has showed that missing insulin injection because of traveling, tight schedule, and forgetfulness has become a new normal. In this context, Dnurse rolled out its InsulinK in 2016, a ring-like gadget installed on the insulin pen with which patients can collect injection dosage and identify injection time by audio capturing and acoustic processing technology, in connection with APPs/WeChat through Bluetooth. Compared with traditional glucometer, Dnurse’s InsulinK turn to routinizing patients’ the use of insulin, undoubtedly bringing it a step closer to enhance patients’ compliance. 

All things considered, Dnurse’s efforts to revolutionize diabetes management by nurturing patients’ compliance have currently won recognition from some multinational pharmaceutical titans like Novo Nordisk. 

Without scientific support, mobile health products’ vitality comes to nothing.

Three years ago, ScienceSoft, a US-headquartered provider of IT consulting services and custom software development, found that just 5% of health care apps for chronic disease in U.S. market are created based on rigorous research. 

Without a reliable scientific support from health institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and even advanced technology like AI or big data, most diabetes mobile health products can only perform simple glucose self-monitoring and instruction-providing. 

However, how to translate clinical and behavioral evidence and technical capabilities into measurable, reproducible, and evidence-based mobile health solutions to drive outcomes is key to their success. Many diabetes mobile health products, as a result, have to encounter harsh criticism and doubts about their effectiveness as they have no reliable partners or technical means to justify their virtues. 

How about Dnurse? Currently Dnurse has seen a close-knit network with chain pharmacies, health care institutions, and specialist hospitals. Take a closer look, Dnurse has done more: Dnurse and Taikang Life Insurance, one of the largest life insurers in China, jointly put forward their first diabetes commercial insurance product in 2015; Dnurse has been operating “Diabetes Web” Wechat account and micro website; Dnurse is trying to achieve a better analysis of glucose readings in collaboration with Guangzhou DMK Medical Devices, an amalgamated corporation operating import ophthalmic medical facility and consumables in China. 

Apart from its professional partners, Dnurse knows that another key is its convincing hardware into which key measurements such as blood pressure, insulin level, heart rate, and weight should also be incorporated. It independently developed IDSS (Intelligent Decision Support System), a smart “care-giver” that gives patients real-time suggestion based on more than 10,000 real diabetes scenarios. And unlike other mobile health providers who only have either software or hardware, Dnurse works on both sides, delivering a well-developed line-up ranging from mobile glucometer, insulin tracker, multi parameter monitor to apps for both patients and doctors.

Based on these scientific dimensions, Dnurse’s sustained development in the days to come may not a pipe dream. Cost-effectiveness and high adaptability herald more market share.

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