Walmart Sells AI-Backed Diabetes Tech Which Makes Blood Sugar Management Suggestions

If you’re not a diabetic or have never lived with a diabetic loved one, it’s hard to imagine how cumbersome it can be to manage the condition.

My husband, for example, must keep a long list of items organized just to do basic self-care, including oral medication, insulin, needles to inject the insulin, a glucometer, test strips and a lancet for drawing blood to put on the strips.  That’s in addition to the lifestyle demands imposed by the illness, notably careful dietary management and appropriate levels of exercise, along with regular medical visits to adjust medications as needed and track possible danger signals.

Given my intimate understanding of these challenges, I was impressed to read about the deal Walmart recently struck to offer the One Drop wireless glucose meter package. One Drop seems to offer one of the better packages of digital health options and tools for patient self-management of diabetes than I’ve seen anywhere else. While they may not precisely make such management easier, they may well offer better results.

One Drop already sells the meter via amazon.com, bestbuy.com, apple.com and a handful of Apple retail stores, but there’s something about hitting Walmart which says not only “mass market” but also “appeals to everyone.”

The retail giant agreed in mid-October to sell the One Drop line of digital therapeutics solutions for diabetes, which includes a Bluetooth glucose meter, lancing device, test strips and a year of free 24/7 access to its certified diabetes coaches.

First, the smart glucose meter transmits data to One Drop from members, and to date has collected health data from more than 1.5 million users. The One Drop platform then leverages AI to generate relevant advice and input. Users access this input via a related mobile app.

The app’s features include AI-generated Predictive Insights, which offer 8-hour blood glucose forecasts for One Drop mobile app users with type 2 diabetes. Even better, each forecast is paired with a behavioral recommendation on how the patient can keep their blood glucose in the desired range. I’m not going to say there’s nothing comparable on the market, but if there is I haven’t seen it. (The company does claim that it’s the only provider of blood glucose forecasts for people with type 2.)

There’s a lot to like about One Drop’s business model, approaches which other vendors bring smart devices to market should bear in mind.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of its strategy is that on its site, onedrop.today, the first pitch you see is to subscribe to a package including the meter, supplies and personal coaching service, at a rather affordable $27 per month.

This suggests to me that One Drop sees itself as a data/intelligence company that sells hardware and software rather than a tech vendor that happens to collect and crunch data. Rather than pushing consumers to buy their technology—the approach taken by every other smart device vendor I’ve encountered—they’re building a long-term relationship.

This, of course, makes massive sense when you think of diabetes as a condition to be managed rather than a problem to be fixed. I can see why Walmart, the great leveler, would see the value in a package like this–almost anyone can afford it. At long last, we see a connected health vendor meeting consumers where they are!

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

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