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Alexa: find Novo Nordisk voice-activated diabetes tech

Hitlab challenge selects patient education firm Lighthouse for $50,000 funding

Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk’s plans to harness voice-activated technology such as Amazon’s Alexa to improve diabetes care have taken a step forward.

The Danish pharma firm teamed up with HITLAB (Health Innovation Technology Lab) last year to support its 17th health innovation World Cup, which in 2017 focused for the first time on voice tech in type 2 diabetes.

The $50,000 first prize was awarded in late 2017 to Lighthouse, which operates in partnership with the American Diabetes Association and is developing voice-activated education for diabetes patients.

CEO Dave Vockell said: "There is an incredible gap between what people know they should do and the actions they take in support of their long-term health.

"Lighthouse helps patients close that gap, build great lifetime habits and support their broader care team in delivering the best care. Soon, we'll be with a patient everywhere they make choices, fundamentally changing the quality of their life."

He added: "We believe that the power of voice wipes away barriers of technology apprehension, literacy and language, and will be a critical influence on the long-term health of everyone."

Lighthouse saw off competition from fellow finalists Macadmian’s cloud-based My Diabetes Coach support service and T2D2 and its offering of personalised support through Alexa Skills, which took second and third place respectively in the competition.

The pool of finalists was rounded out by Palette, whose smart placemat to track a meal’s nutritional content through biomarkers took fourth place, and the fifth-placed blockchain-powered, voice-activated eco-system Proof.

2017 was the first year the HITLAB World Cup Challenge had focused on both a single disease and specific area of technology, and last year’s competition saw it receive 146 applications from 15 countries.

Novo’s support for Hitlab wasn’t the only recent pharma activity in the space, with its diabetes rival Merck & Co sponsoring the Alexa Diabetes Challenge. This was won in October by Wellpepper’s interactive care plan solution Sugarpod.

Meanwhile, the Mayo Clinic tied-up with Amazon in September on a more general basis to provide voice-activated health advice for a range of common conditions through Alexa.

3rd January 2018

From: Marketing

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