By Heather Mack
Baltimore, Maryland-based WellDoc, which makes a digital platform for chronic disease management, is teaming up with consumer electronics giant Samsung to offer an integrated tool for people living with diabetes.
BlueStarC will be available directly to consumers under Samsung’s newly launched mobile health app Samsung Health (formerly known as S Health). The diabetes management app is the third incarnation of WellDoc’s mobile tool that analyzes patient-entered diabetes data to compare past trends, offer near-real-time feedback and create personalized condition management plans and progress reports users can share with family and healthcare professionals.
The new app, which is the most distinctly lifestyle-focused of all three BlueStar apps, marks WellDoc’s biggest step into the consumer tech space to date. The company also offers a prescription-only version of the app called BlueStarRX, and in January received FDA clearance for the non-prescription version. That move allowed WellDoc to offer the product through more channels, and the BlueStarC version expands opportunities even further, as it falls under the FDA’s category of enforced discretion and is considered low-risk. All versions analyze diabetes data entered by the patient and compare past trends to create personalized management plans, but the non-prescription and BlueStar C versions do not feature the insulin calculator of BlueStarRX.
“This is something we’ve been working towards for awhile,” WellDoc CEO Kevin McRaith told MobiHealthNews. “The key was to make the user experience as simplified and valuable as possible. By integrating with Samsung Health, that really enables us to scale, and we are really excited for the partnership.”
The alliance comes at a time when both companies are taking big steps towards expanding their reach. As an investor, partner and distribution channel provider for WellDoc, Samsung offers a lot to the digital health company. But it’s also a significant move for Samsung, which is increasingly taking its entrée into healthcare more seriously.
“Our enhanced partnership with WellDoc gives us an opportunity to serve global consumers, who we believe are ready to embrace the combined health innovations that our companies plan to offer,” Suntae Jung, vice president of R&D for Samsung’s Mobile Communications team, said in a statement.
Just a few weeks before the FDA clearance of the non-prescription BlueStar app, WellDoc received FDA clearance for the wireless integration of BlueStar with Johnson and Johnson subsidiary LifeScan’s blood glucose monitoring system. Using blood glucose data from OneTouch, BlueStar’s platform identifies trends and patterns, sending information to the user’s healthcare team while offering the user individualized feedback in real time. It also offers virtual coaching based on their specific care plan, and the whole system works with the OneTouch Reveal mobile app. WellDoc also announced a partnership with the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), a professional membership organization of over 14,000 educators. With that partnership, the BlueStar system began incorporating AADE’s educational content into the platform.
Similarly, Samsung has been taken pains to insert itself more firmly into the digital health industry. In February, the company announced a somewhat mysterious collaboration with telemedicine provider American Well. Details are still murky, but the integration intends to leverage American Well’s enterprise telehealth service called the Exchange, which the company launched last year. The Exchange allows payers and providers who use white-labeled American Well telehealth services to offer their care to one another, allowing the end user to access healthcare from brands they are already know and trust.
The WellDoc partnership isn’t quite as secretive, but McRaith said more details about the integration with Samsung Health – in the form of more partnerships with health plans, payers and wearables – will emerge over the next few months.
“Within Samsung and WellDoc, we’re exploring all the ways we can create that user experience to get the right value, however each user wants to connect with the platform,” McRaith said.