Apple Has ‘Secret’ Team of Biomedical Engineers Developing Sensors for Non-Invasively Monitoring Blood Glucose

At a nondescript office in Palo Alto, Apple is rumored to have a small team of biomedical engineers researching better methods for monitoring blood sugar, reports CNBC.

Apple's work on glucose monitoring is said to have started with former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who wanted to develop a sensor that could continuously and non-invasively monitor blood sugar levels to improve quality of life. Apple is far enough along in its research that feasibility trials are being conducted at clinical sites in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it has hired consultants to sort out regulatory issues.
The glucose team is said to report to Johny Srouji, Apple's senior vice president of hardware technologies. [...]

One of the people said that Apple is developing optical sensors, which involves shining a light through the skin to measure indications of glucose.
Rumors of Apple's work on advanced healthcare initiatives like diabetes management aren't new. Early Apple Watch information suggested the wearable device would be able to measure things like blood pressure and blood glucose levels.

Many health-related sensors that Apple wanted to include in the original Apple Watch were reportedly dropped because the technology was not consistently accurate, but rumors at the time said Apple would pursue its work on more advanced health sensors. Apple has also made several health-related acquisitions and around the time the Apple Watch was in development, hired dozens of biomedical experts.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has since said that Apple does not want to put the Apple Watch through the FDA approval process, something that would need to happen for more advanced healthcare features, so it is not clear if this is a feature Apple foresees being added to the wrist-worn device. From Tim Cook in 2015:
"We don't want to put the watch through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) process. I wouldn't mind putting something adjacent to the watch through it, but not the watch, because it would hold us back from innovating too much, the cycles are too long. But you can begin to envision other things that might be adjacent to it -- maybe an app, maybe something else."
If Apple is planning on more advanced sensors for the Apple Watch, such features are not likely to be included in the third-generation device rumored to be coming in the fall of 2017. Information on that device thus far points towards a smaller update focusing on improving battery life and perhaps adding features like cellular connectivity.

While Apple works on its in-house own blood sugar monitoring solution, it has launched CareKit, a platform that allows app developers to create integrated software that allows patients and doctors to better manage medical conditions. Diabetes monitor One Drop was one of the first companies to support CareKit.


Discuss this article in our forums

One Drop’s CareKit App Showing ‘Substantial Improvement’ in Glycemic Control for Diabetic Users

Earlier this year, the CareKit-supported One Drop Blood Glucose Monitor launched on Apple.com, allowing users to get pain-free results in just seconds, with data easily displayed on the compatible iOS app. After a few months on the market, One Drop has today released new findings and is reporting that its kit has catalyzed "a substantial improvement in glycemic control." In total, the study accounts for 3,500,000 app log-ins and over 200,000,000 primary health data points entered by its users over a period lasting between 2 months to 1 year.

The data comes from One Drop mobile app users on both iOS and Android who have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and who have consistently followed the company's app guidelines by entering two glycated hemoglobin (A1C) values at least sixty days (but not more than one year) apart. In June 2016, prior to One Drop's wide release, initial analysis showed a 0.7 percentage point reduction in A1C for One Drop app users, going down from 7.8 percent to 7.1 percent.


Now, One Drop has repeated its analysis "on a much larger sample" of users, and discovered a 1.0 percent point reduction in A1C among app users, decreasing from 8.2 percent to 7.2 percent. Diabetics are encouraged to take A1C tests at least twice a year, in order to measure their average blood glucose level during the previous 3 month period. The American Diabetes Association encourages those with diabetes to aim for an A1C test result of less than 7 percent; people without diabetes typically range between 4 and 6 percent, so the lower the result the better.

As One Drop pointed out, the more that its users visited the app and tracked their blood glucose and food intake, the more their A1C improved. At the same time, inflated results from the glut of new users post-launch also factor into the .30 percent increase between the findings last June and this month. The company mentioned that, although the findings might appear small, "this is just the tip of the iceberg" in terms of testing and improvements coming to One Drop.
"The improvement in A1c we've seen among our users is often achieved with drugs, but rarely, if ever, seen with self-care interventions," said Jeff Dachis, Founder and CEO of One Drop. "With One Drop, we are delivering a well-designed, evidence-based diabetes solution that provides cost-effective, comprehensive care to anyone, anywhere in the United States and, soon, anywhere in the world.
The company's app also has an on-demand coaching service called "One Drop Experts" -- available in the Premium plan -- which gives users 24/7 in-app diabetes support from Certified Diabetes Educators, and even a digital therapeutics program to keep every aspect of their program on track. One Drop has additionally tracked activity from this specific section of the app as well, and discovered the following took place over a four week period.

Participants using the One Drop app and One Drop Experts:

  • reduced average blood glucose by 27 mg/dL;


  • reduced average blood glucose from 185 mg/dL (A1c 8.1%) to 158 (A1c 7.1%);


  • reduced average percentage of high blood glucose readings from 19% to 4%;


  • nearly doubled the percentage of in-range blood glucose readings;


  • consistently tracked food and blood glucose over time.

For those interested, the One Drop Blood Glucose Monitoring Kit sells for $99.95 on Apple.com, while the One Drop for Diabetes Management app is free to download on the iOS App Store, and includes Apple Watch support [Direct Link]. One Drop's advantages include a lancing device that has custom depth settings to ensure that each user can discover the right amount of pressure and get "a perfect drop every time." The Premium subscription plan ensures users never run out of test strips, in addition to access to One Drop Experts.


In 2016 One Drop was one of four apps that launched with Apple's CareKit platform, which allows app developers to design and launch integrated software to facilitate better communication and information gathering among doctors and their patients. The other three apps were fertility tracker Glow Nurture [Direct Link], maternity app Glow Baby [Direct Link], and depression medication tracker Start [Direct Link].

For One Drop, Founder and CEO Jeff Dachis said that the company intends to continue its expansion and encourage the spread of diabetic knowledge in the process: "As we expand, we will maintain our focus, empowering everyone with diabetes today to make better choices and lead fuller lives."


Discuss this article in our forums

One Drop Blood Glucose Monitoring Kit for iPhone Launches on Apple.com

Health startup One Drop recently launched its iOS-compatible One Drop Chrome Blood Glucose Monitoring Kit on Apple.com for $99.95. Approved by the FDA and CE in Europe, the kit includes a Bluetooth-enabled blood glucose meter, a chrome lancing device, test strips, and a vegan leather carry case.

one-drop-apple-store-2
The blood glucose meter can read results "in just five seconds," transmitting the data to the One Drop iOS app [Direct Link] that users can download on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple Watch. One Drop's lancing device has custom depth settings to provide the right amount of pressure on a user-by-user basis in order to draw "a perfect drop every time." To keep up on compatible test strips, users can subscribe to One Drop Premium for a monthly $39.95 fee.

one-drop-apple-store
With Apple's energetic and consistent focus on health, One Drop provides a premium product that not only meshes well with Apple's design sensibility, but aligns well with their desire to empower users to take control of their health.

Its new Chrome hardware connects to One Drop’s iOS, watchOS, and Android apps, and have full HealthKit and CareKit integration, allowing you to sync data from other health apps (e.g., CGMs, bluetooth meters, food & activity trackers) and share your data with your Care Team.
One Drop was one of four apps to launch with Apple's CareKit platform in 2016, including fertility tracker Glow Nurture, maternity app Glow Baby, and depression medication tracker Start. CareKit allows app developers to create integrated software that helps patients and doctors to better track and manage medical conditions.

On Apple.com, the One Drop Monitoring Kit is available for both store pickup and home shipping, with delivery dates listed as early as tomorrow, January 13. For more information on One Drop, check out the company's website here.


Discuss this article in our forums

Apple Teams Up With Security Firm to Bolster Encryption Across Its CareKit Medical Platform

Apple has partnered with security firm Tresorit so that developers using Apple's CareKit platform will have access to increased privacy options (via Mashable).

Tresorit's security technology, ZeroKit, will bring user authentication to patients and healthcare workers, while its end-to-end encryption smarts promise "zero knowledge" sharing of health data. The ZeroKit team announced the partnership in a blog post on Apple's CareKit blog.

carekit
"Apple designed the iOS platform and CareKit with security at its core. When building apps where data is shared across devices and with other services, developers want to extend this security to the cloud. This is exactly what ZeroKit does."
CareKit is Apple's open-source platform aimed at making it easer for developers and health care professionals to build health apps via a number of integrations, like monitoring of medical symptoms, sending images of an injury, and keeping tabs on medication schedules.

CareKit also offers two-way benefits, as it not only helps doctors monitor patients but also allows patients to observe their progress over time. While patients won't get to choose whether to apply ZeroKit's encryption tools, the back-end integration will allow Apple's platform to fall in line with state privacy rules around patient information.


Discuss this article in our forums