Medtronic Alerts Diabetes Patients & Caregivers with Twilio APIs

See Amit Joshipura, Senior Global Product Manager at Medtronic, talk at SIGNAL 2018 about how Twilio is helping provide life-saving information to diabetes patients and their caregivers with 24/7 SMS messaging and alert notifications.

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Medtronic Alerts Diabetes Patients & Caregivers with Twilio APIs

Here are some unsettling facts: Over 422 million adults worldwide have diabetes, that’s one in eleven adults. And as Amit Joshipura, Senior Global Product Manager, of Medtronic stated at Twilio’s 2018 SIGNAL conference for developers, over 100 million of those patients are in the US alone. It stands to reason that diabetes is one of the most significant global health threats today, and it’s getting worse. By 2040, 642 million adults are expected to have the disease.

While those numbers will put a strain on healthcare systems everywhere, individuals with the disease have it the worst. They see their doctors every few months to monitor the disease, but it’s primarily up to them to manage their conditions daily — finding a balance between not having enough sugar in their blood and having too much. If their glucose level drops too low, they face the threat of hypoglycemia, which can cause confusion, disorientation, or even death. If it’s too high, they risk cardiac disease, blindness, and other debilitating issues.

Glucose monitoring is performed by the patients themselves (or a caregiver) pricking the diabetics’ finger to monitor sugar levels. The problem with this painful necessity is that a lot of things affect your sugar level throughout the day — food intake, drinks, stress, exercise, amount of sleep. And a daily finger prick is not going to indicate variances throughout the day. To see a full picture, you’d have to prick your finger all day, over and over.

Making Accurate Monitoring Easier With Cloud Communications

Medtronic PLC saw the need to create glucose monitoring tools that would help people manage their diabetes more easily. Growing innovations in wearable technology made it possible to capture biometric data on diet, exercise, sleep, stress, medication, and more. And “always-on” digital devices could be used to take insight from that data and deliver it to users with plenty of time for them to take action.

That’s where Twilio comes in. As Joshipura points out, Medtronic's technology, coupled with Twilio’s messaging communication solutions, has been able to transform people’s quality of life and the daily burden that is caused by diabetes. Medtronic’s solution, Guardian Connect, is like a GPS for the patient’s body, monitoring data via a wearable receptor, and giving 24/7 constant feedback via an app on their mobile device. Simultaneously, this essential information needs to be reliably delivered to the patient’s caregivers to alert them to take action. And since Medtronic’s device is approved for use on a global scale, Twilio’s deliverability was a huge factor in being the best solution for Medtronic to assist a global patient population.

Twilio’s ability to deliver SMS alerts globally, Joshipura says, “has been fantastic at allowing us to expand the care team and make sure the physicians and parents are well equipped to handle whatever issue is going on.” Watch the full Medtronic presentation, here:

Short on time? Here are the top four takeaways from Joshipura’s presentation:

  • Unpredictable glucose levels have a significant impact on daily life: three out of five people with diabetes are very worried about the risk of hypoglycemia (having very low glucose levels). And with just finger pricking, you have no idea if you’re at risk in between pricks.
  • Plus, finger pricking can miss 78% of highs and lows in glucose levels.
  • Medtronic’s Guardian Connect is the first and only standalone CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) system that alerts patients of potential highs and lows up to 60 minutes in advance.
  • Twilio’s SMS Messaging and Alerts allow Medtronic to ensure alerts are shared with caregivers in real time so an intervention can be performed.