The 6 Factors of Success: How Digital Diabetes Management Solutions set an example for others

The digital diabetes market is one of the most mature digital health markets today. The number of players in the market is increasing and the competitiveness is rising. In order to reach to the quality standards, set by the established digital diabetes market players, there are six main success factors that need to be followed.

There are around 422 million people living with diabetes and the prevalence of diabetes has been rising over the past years (WHO). With the increasing demand for affordable treatments, digital diabetes market, one of the most mature markets of digital health, is getting more and more crowded. Currently, there are more than 2,000 digital diabetes applications and DTx solutions with millions of monthly active users. Benefiting the advancements in smart medical and consumer devices, opportunities for reimbursement of the remote and telehealth services, and technological capabilities of handling large populations, the digital diabetes market players set an example for the players in the other market segments. (To have more comprehensive analysis of this market, get your copy of “The Global Digital Diabetes Care Market 2020: Going Beyond Diabetes Management” report) And now, each digital diabetes market player is trying to find a way to enlarge its customer portfolio and reap the fruits of their investments before anyone does.

As the number of digital diabetes solution providers increases, so does the competitiveness. It gets even harder for the platform and device vendors to stay in the league of top players. Because of the rising competitiveness, digital diabetes market players are constantly being pushed further to scale-up their digital health product and its outreach. The successful digital diabetes solution providers, today, are already expanding the disease management services and technologies for other chronic health conditions, stepping into the world of multi-condition disease management platforms (e.g., DarioHealth adding MSK and behavioural health beside hypertension and diabetes, or Abbott scaling up its CGM technology for consumer wearables).

The market is especially competitive in the United States, where it is highly dependent on the employer clients. The U.S based employers on the other hand are looking for one chronic condition platform that could save time and effort from contracting many different platforms for each different chronic condition, and also one that would save costs and generate positive health outcomes in the long term.

The 6 factors of success learnt from the top digital diabetes management market players

In order to be successful like one of the top digital diabetes management solution providers, there are 6 main factors that need to be followed by the chronic condition platform vendors.

1. Comorbidity Coverage: Adding more conditions to the platform became a standard for digital diabetes solutions, as the solution providers got aware of the fact that a chronic condition does not come all alone, but with hypertension, obesity or mental health problems. Therefore, the digital health platform vendors that have the capability of addressing multiple chronic conditions, such as DarioHealth, Omada, Livongo, and Welldoc, are already one step ahead of the others. Some solution providers expand via acquisitions, such as Dario’s acquisition of Upright and Physimax for MSK in 2020 and wayForward for mental health in 2021, while the others prefer expanding on their own, like Omada’s latest integration of behavioral health support for their members.

2. Service Expansion: Digital diabetes solutions did not only expand in terms of conditions covered, but also in terms of services offered. They improved their chronic condition management platforms with user friendly features, connected with the consumer and medical devices for advanced disease tracking, and last but not the least, added new service layers including coaching, telehealth, lab tests, etc. For example, one of the service expansions recently came from OneTouch Solutions launched by LifeScan in the US in October 2021, offering a wellness focused market place for the consumers to better manage diabetes.

3. Value-based Pricing: To be able to increase the outreach of a chronic condition management solution, the vendors have to demonstrate that it works, via decreasing costs and improved health outcomes. And the digital diabetes market players do it very well, with randomized clinical trials and peer-reviewed publications. In fact, some of them, like US-based Virta Health, had already started to offer value-based pricing model rather than the fixed prices, i.e., the payor (employer or insurer) pays for the solution when/if they see cost savings and improved A1c levels. With this approach, the vendors would be able to close more contracts with the employers and insurers in the B2B market.

4. Patient Engagement: Value added engagement with the users to keep them in the disease management platform is another crucial success factor that the digital diabetes solutions focus on. There are different ways of engaging with the users to make the digital health platform a part of their daily life, e.g., offering personalized education materials, gamification with rewards attached to the achievements, real-time coaching services, nudges, and reminders, and so on. mySugr, the Austrian digital diabetes management company acquired by Roche Diabetes, is one of the earliest integrators of gamification, as a way to engage with its members in a much fun way.

5. Value for the Healthcare Providers: The successful digital diabetes solutions are also becoming a close friend of the healthcare providers (HCPs), who are buried under hundreds of patients and their data at the same time. The digital diabetes platform vendors, such as DarioHealth and Glooko aware of the needs of HCPs, offer advanced population management solutions providing on-going patient tracking, real-time dashboards, and detecting the high-risk patients.

6. Financial Support: Over the last years, the digital diabetes solution vendors have realized the value of forming alliances with the healthcare incumbents, especially with big pharmaceutical companies. In other words, it is important to have a financial back-up behind the solution to support the further development and commercialization of the product globally. Regarding this, One Drop signed a partnership with Bayer to jointly develop digital health products across therapeutic areas in 2020, while recently, DarioHealth and Sanofi signed a partnership involving $30 million USD to improve Dario’s platform as well as to support its commercial success in the health plan channel.

There are thousands of digital chronic care management service providers, who needs to catch up with the top players of the market segments, even the digital diabetes companies. By looking at the six major reasons behind the unstoppable growth of successful digital diabetes management solutions, any digital therapeutics solution could learn a lot on how to form better strategies for future growth and develop their services to join the league of top players.

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