Memorandum

mySugr updates: integrates with Medtronic CareLink; Coaching a “definitive win,” Accu-Chek Connect integration now in Canada – November 18, 2016

Executive Highlights

  • mySugr has signed a worldwide partnership with Medtronic to “soon” integrate pump and CGM data automatically into the mySugr app via CareLink.
  • mySugr Coaching on iOS launched in the US with Gary Scheiner’s clinic in early October and is “a definitive win” so far in the ~200 users that have tried it (initially $19.99 per month). No further outcomes were shared, but this is definitely a program to watch. Expanded distribution of mySugr Coaching is expected in 2017.
  • Roche’s Accu-Chek Connect meter integration with mySugr has now launched in Canada, adding to launches in Germany, Italy, Belgium, and Austria. The US is “coming soon.”
  • mySugr now has a remarkable 845,000+ users, up from 770,000+ as of AADE and 600,000+ in April. The team expects a bigger presence in 2017, as its new US office ramps up and it starts working with payers and healthcare systems.

In an industry update sent out late last week, diabetes app powerhouse mySugr shared three important updates:

1. A new worldwide partnership with Medtronic will “soon” integrate pump and CGM data automatically into the mySugr app. The tight integration will allow users to connect their CareLink and mySugr accounts (cloud-to-cloud), meaning the data will flow automatically in both directions (mySugr->CareLink and CareLink->mySugr). This adds to both companies’ growing list of diabetes data partnerships, and quickly follows the launch of Medtronic/Glooko integration. We’re glad to see diabetes data moving to an app ecosystem with more freely flowing data between multiple companies’ devices and apps.

2. mySugr Coaching on iOS launched in the US with Gary Scheiner’s clinic in early October and is “a definitive win” so far in the ~200 users that have tried it. It is initially $19.99 per month (50% off the normal price). Early user feedback has been positive, and the team continues to learn and optimize the user experience. Expanded distribution is expected in 2017.

3. Roche’s Accu-Chek Connect meter integration with the mySugr app has now launched in Canada, adding to launches in Germany, Italy, Belgium, and Austria. The US is “coming soon.”

The world’s most popular diabetes app now has a remarkable 845,000+ users, according to the homepage – remarkably, that’s up from 770,000+ as of AADE and 600,000+ in April. Wow! The app also has 11,207 all-time ratings on Android (4.6 stars) and 2,893 all-time ratings on iOS (4.5 stars) – blowing away any other diabetes app we’ve seen. The second most popular diabetes app for Android is Diabetes:M (9,724 reviews, 4.7 stars), a basic logging app with a pretty clunky user interface.

mySugr has a popular bolus calculator in the EU, and the company is working with US partners to best determine how to bring it stateside. The team told us that 2016 has been an important transition year, as it recently opened up its US office in San Diego. Next year, the team plans to work with health care systems and payers. mySugr’s partnership with Profil will be key on that front, helping make sense of terabytes of data to measure clinical outcomes with the app.

We include more highlights from the industry update below, followed by screenshots of the latest app.

mySugr Industry Update Highlights

1. mySugr has signed a worldwide partnership with Medtronic to “soon” integrate pump and CGM data automatically into the mySugr app. The tight integration will allow users to connect their CareLink and mySugr accounts (cloud-to-cloud), meaning the data will flow automatically in both directions (mySugr ->CareLink and CareLink -> mySugr).. This adds to a growing list of data partnerships for Medtronic (IBM Watson, Nutrino, and the just-launched Glooko integration) and a clear vote of confidence in mySugr (who also has partnerships with Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre, Dexcom’s G4/G5, Roche’s Accu-Chek Connect, and the Profil Institute). mySugr did not initially focus on sensor data with its app, though that is changing in the latest versions, which do a good job of integrating lots of data from HealthKit automatically (e.g., Dexcom CGM, carb information, exercise) and sensor data from Abbott’s FreeStyle LibreLink Android app.

  • The news comes on the heels of Medtronic launching an Android version of MiniMed Connect in the US, and just before it launches the Guardian Connect Bluetooth-enabled mobile CGM in Europe (by January 2017) and the US (by April 2017). As we understand it, the pump and CGM data will flow automatically from these Medtronic apps to CareLink and then to mySugr.

2. mySugr Coaching on iOS launched in the US with Gary Scheiner’s clinic in early October and is “a definitive win” so far in the ~200 users that have tried it. Expanded distribution is expected in 2017. Blogger Laddie Lindahl noted in the mySugr industry email update, “It feels like sitting next to my coach even though we’re just communicating on my smartphone. I improved my regimen and have been rewarded with more predictable blood sugars.” No other specific outcomes have been shared in these early days, though we certainly hope to hear more.  Perhaps some data will be published, given mySugr’s partnership with the Profil Institute. Scalability is always the big question with coaching, and the team is working to optimize both the Coach and Coachee experience, especially the user interface, interactions, and data transfer. The biggest challenge is to keep the process simple and efficient on both ends, though early learning has been fruitful, according to mySugr.

  • mySugr Coaching is initially $19.99 per month (50% off the normal price of $39.99 per month) – watch a video here of how it works and the current three-coach team (Gary Scheiner, Lisa Foster-McNulty, and Jennifer Smith) discussing it here. The latter gives us goose bumps every time, since it’s both inspiring for people with diabetes and visionary on where diabetes care needs to go: “Let’s be honest; doctors don’t have the bandwidth to manage people’s blood sugar on a daily basis. There’s too much work involved. And even if they did, you’re still going three, six or even twelve months between appointments. There are so many challenges that come up during that time. It really requires a coach to work with you on an ongoing basis. And now, with mySugr Coaching, you have that opportunity.” – Gary Scheiner

  • As we noted at AADE, the coaching service leverages the world’s most popular diabetes app and a killer iPad Pro interface for diabetes educators (coaches) to view patient data and communicate seamlessly with users. Users who sign up get a thorough, in-depth initial assessment; a real human-to-human relationship (no bot-driven education); unlimited messaging; and unlimited video conversations with playback (coming soon). “All coaches undergo a strict recruitment process and are carefully selected by mySugr.”

  • We appreciated the company’s careful wording at AADE –  “extend the reach of world-class educators like you” – positioning the app as an enabler for CDEs, not a replacement. We love the vision of “filling the gap between office visits” and giving patients “high-quality personalized diabetes education from the convenience of their smartphone.” In our view, human accountability + technology is where diabetes care must go to drive significant behavior change and scale to meet the population’s needs.
  • The mySugr team told us that educators like Gary waste a lot of time downloading data, a handicap that will be increasingly eliminated with this app – patients will take care of data input, with an increasing number of devices sending data automatically to the app (Roche’s Accu-Chek Connect BGM, Dexcom CGM via Apple Health, iHealth meters, Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre, and Medtronic pump and CGM data soon). Educators will have access to the data at their fingertips, eliminating cables, downloading, and wasted effort. The challenge, of course, will be if patients don’t enter any data at all, though this should be less of an issue with an out-of-pocket subscription model and accountability to a coach.
  • If mySugr Coaching drives strong outcomes, this model seems like a valuable option for payers and health systems. The service approach is where healthcare (and diabetes) seems to be going, and the use of technology to scale human expertise is the only option for diabetes care going forward – there are too many patients and too few providers for the status quo to continue. 

3. Roche’s Accu-Chek Connect meter integration with the mySugr app has now launched in Canada, adding to availability in Germany, Italy, Belgium, and Austria. It is coming soon in the US. The partnership was first announced in April, bringing direct integration of the Bluetooth-enabled meter into mySugr. The integration gives patients everything for free: (i) an Accu-Chek Connect meter ordered directly from the mySugr app and shipped within a couple weeks (normally $19.99); and (ii) free access to the pro-version of the mySugr Logbook app (offering more functionality for $2.99 per month, including a bolus calculator in Europe).

  • We had a chance to test the integration in April and were highly impressed with how tight it is on the connectivity and ordering fronts. The Accu-Chek meter automatically uploads results directly into the mySugr app via Bluetooth, just like it would for Roche’s proprietary Connect app – this doesn’t use HealthKit as an intermediary, a clear sign that Roche is committed to sustaining the great mySugr user experience. The mySugr app must be open on the phone for meter readings to transfer via Bluetooth, though it can be running in the background and the phone can be locked. We found the Bluetooth pairing process easier than with Roche’s own app (~20 seconds – seriously fast). If the phone is out of range following a test, the meter will backfill all the missing data into mySugr the next time it is in range. Read more about the integration and our test drive here.

Screenshots of the Latest mySugr App

-- by Adam Brown and Kelly Close