Telcare: Diabetes Control for the Digital Age

diabetes-glucose-monitorBlood glucose monitoring is an important part of controlling diabetes, but the current method for glucose testing has some significant drawbacks. Patients test their blood glucose twice daily, record it in a diary, and periodically bring it to their physician later on. The patient may not keep up with the diary, so the physician may wind up looking at data that doesn’t offer an accurate representation of the patient’s current health. If the patient skips his or her testing routine altogether, diabetes-related health complications such as heart attack, diabetic retinopathy, blindness, and stroke could result. Improved diabetes self-care may ultimately lead to lower healthcare costs, an important consideration in a time when both hospitals and patients are seeking to control medical costs.

Telcare, a Bethesda, Md.-based company focused on connecting patients with their doctors via wireless technology, has developed a wireless glucose meter that enables two-way communication between patient and caregiver. The patient’s blood glucose measurements are automatically transmitted to the physician’s electronic medical record. The physician can be alerted to abnormal measurements or non-compliance. Although similar products have been tried on cell phones, the Telcare device has a unique capability: Doctors can also send feedback to the patient that shows up on the device’s screen. The data can also be transmitted to family members who are involved in the patient’s care.

Telcare’s device is designed to work anywhere there is a cellular data network, setting the device apart from similar mobile health devices that rely on short-range networks such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The global market for glucose meters and testing supplies is estimated at $8 billion, and even a 1 percent market share would amount to a significant amount of revenue for Telcare. The company expects the device to receive FDA clearance by the fourth quarter of 2010.

Telcare is one of the companies scheduled to present at the OneMedForum San Francisco 2011 in January. For more information on the conference, visit http://www.onemedplace.com/forum.

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