#healthcare #software

An easy way to help your family member monitor and adhere to a type 2 diabetes care plan through effective communication and data aggregation.

Technology

SMS
Google Sheets
Google Data Studio
Fitbit Devices
IFTTT
iOS
WordPress

Deliverables

Data warehouse for Fitbit activity
Mobile health dashboard
Automated SMS communication engine

Client

Self

Visit

The first failed approach

I used a digital health platform to aggregate the Fitbit steps, sleep and weight data from the wearables and scale. The platform allows a user to manually input glucometer readings to track blood sugar levels and visualize the data over time to better understand trends.

Patients can share access to their data with their care team. I would sometimes print the charts and hand-write information to help explain the data.

Advanced insights, like plotting glucose levels against activity, had to be gathered by pulling global data from the platform and using Microsoft Excel to graph the data manually.

These manual reports were then shared and consumed via email.

https://medium.com/@killthrash/pulling-everything-together-cfd356a16a3a

The problem

Every digital health platform requires its users to download a new app and create an account with an email address, password and sometimes a username.

For most patients managing type 2 diabetes, these platforms require users to log into the app every day and manually key in their glucometer readings to track progress.

This approach requires a new human behavior just to get started. My Mom would always take her glucose reading but would often forget to log the data in the health platform.

In the US in Q1 2017, smartphone owners had an average of almost 100 apps installed on their devices, but only used about 40 of them on a monthly basis.
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The solution

Fitbit alta HR for steps and sleep tracking. Fitbit aria wireless scale for tracking weight. Custom SMS messaging engine for glucose data entry.

A mobile phone and tablet dashboard displays simple, easy-to-read weekly activity updates.

A weekly SMS text message reminder is sent to the patient and their family members so they can easily jump into the mobile dashboard with a simple tap on a link.

No mobile apps, user accounts or passwords to remember.

SMS data entry leverages existing human behaviors with thoughtful design to inform and empower the patient and family care team.

Connect Devices

Fast and free​ simple modular design

Databases and visualization

Google sheets receives Fitbit steps, sleep, and weight from an IFTTT Fitbit service. Google sheets also receives inbound glucose readings from the IFTTT SMS inbound service. Google Data Studio visualizes the data on mobile phone and tablet dashboards.

SMS Data Entry and Reminders

IFTTT SMS services records inbound glucose readings to the database. IFTTT integrates ClickSend SMS services for outbound weekly text reminders.

Mobile Website

The Google Data Studio dashboards are embedded in an iframe in a simple HTML file hosted on a Linux Apache web server.

Privacy

An anonymous Gmail, Google Voice phone number and Fitbit account can be set up to enroll. No patient-identifying information is sent, received or stored.

Easy, Elegant, Effective

Connect Devices
Wear the Fitbit alta HR wristband to track steps and sleep. Charge every 4-5 days. Step onto the Fitbit aria wireless scale once a day to track weight.
Send Glucose
After taking a glucose reading, text the score and a note to a dedicated phone number.
Receive Reminders
Once a week, a text message is sent to the patient and a supportive family member reminding them to visit the health dashboard to see the weekly trend.
Mobile Dashboard
Large font, easy-to-read indicators. Only the essential information – nothing more, nothing less.
Tablet Dashboard
Accessible from an iPad or other tablet. Larger format, easier to read.

Looking ahead

The product in its current state has been incredibly helpful in keeping me engaged and up-to-date with my Mom’s health. I get a text message with the health dashboard every Saturday afternoon, I quickly review that week’s progress, and call my Mom to chat with her about how she’s doing.

Digital health tools don’t solve health problems, but I believe they can inform and empower care teams and families to work together to live a happy, healthy life through meaningful health-related conversations.

By leveraging existing human behaviors, in this case SMS text messaging, with thoughtful design, we can make tools that integrate with people’s lives.

A few roadmap features

  • Buttons on the health dashboard that send your patient a text message containing suggested encouragement or questions based on the data. i.e. if the weekly glucose trend is decreasing and the step count is increasing, “Great work bringing your blood sugar down. Looks like you’re moving and shaking this week!” or if glucose is increasing and sleep is below average, “Hey Mom, how are you sleeping? Feeling stressed?”
  • Tokenized incentives for the patient and their family member care team.

Do you have a family member managing type 2 diabetes?

If you’re interested in using this platform for your family member, shoot me an email and we can get you set up. The only cost for this are the Fitbit devices, inspire wristband and aria scale, at around $100 each.

NOTE: This is not a commercialized platform, has not passed a HIPAA audit and is only intended for personal use.