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Diabetes in focus: Suppliers look to ease pain points of condition management

This month, DSN takes a look at innovation in insulin injection and in monitoring, highlighting some of the forward-thinking offerings in the category.

Diabetes is not a new disease, but the ways that people address some of the fundamental aspects of it are changing. This month, DSN takes a look at innovation in insulin injection and in monitoring, highlighting some of the forward-thinking offerings in the category.

Getting to the Point
Insulin injection is at the center of diabetes management for many of the 34.2 million Americans living with the disease, and it is crucial for them to get that right.

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“We know that when patients receive structured injection-technique training, ... there have been studies that show patients seeing as much as a 1% reduction in A1C over six months,” said Claire Lotito Levine, associate director of strategic customer marketing at BD Medical — Diabetes Care.

Needle gauge and length play a part in injection effectiveness, Levine said, making it necessary for patients to be educated on proper technique and use the right tools. Companies such as  BD are centering innovation on injection necessities to make managing diabetes easier.

[Read more: Walmart launches private-brand analog insulin ReliOn NovoLog]

The company has been rolling out its BD Nano 2nd Gen Pen Needles, which improve on its BD Nano Ultra Fine Pen Tips — the world’s best-selling pen needle SKU — with features that include a contoured needle base to prevent wobbling when pressed against the skin, as well as a larger inner needle shield and a wider outer cover.

“The contoured needle base is really something that patients appreciate because it’s comfortable against the skin, and the fact that they can hold the pen against their skin without wobbling makes a difference in their confidence and comfort in their injection process,” Levine said. “When people have confidence and more comfort, they’re more likely to follow their injection regimen.”

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Another company focused on pen tip innovation is Owen Mumford. The Marietta, Ga.-based company makes the Unifine brand of pen needles, which expanded last year with the launch of Unifine SafeControl. The product is focused on giving patients more control over the injection process, with a needle that they can clearly see every step of the process and ensure insulin delivery.

“If a pen needle prematurely activates, there’s a possibility of being unsure about the full dose being administered,” said Stephanie Lee, marketing director at Owen Mumford. “If the patient flinches and the mechanism activates, you may not have that confidence — and that was what we saw [was needed] when we started asking healthcare professionals and letting them use our device. Having control over the safety mechanisms gave patients the confidence that the full dose was administered.”

Frictionless Connected Health
Connected health has been one of the buzziest concepts in health care for years, especially with the advent of the Internet of Things and various fitness/health tracking apps. But one company’s story highlights the importance of keeping things simple in an age when many companies might be overthinking things.

[Read more: FDA clears interchangeable insulin biosimilar Semglee]

Smart Meter’s flagship product is iGlucose, a cell-enabled blood glucose monitor that completes a reading, displays the results and then automatically logs those results to a cloud database. The simplicity is something Smart Meter CEO Casey Pittock said gives the product an advantage over connected-health devices that require Bluetooth connection.

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“With [iGlucose], we heard loud and clear from the market that Bluetooth just doesn’t work — it’s too unreliable,” he said. The company now is taking the demand for cell-enabled monitoring solutions and expanding it — creating an ecosystem Pittock said can support the growing demand for remote patient monitoring by health professionals.

In the past year, the company has introduced iBlood Pressure, a cell-enabled blood pressure monitor, and most recently, the iScale, both of which take the ease of use pioneered by iGlucose and bring it to bear on conditions that often are comorbid with diabetes.

“We like to think of ourselves as being the foundation of chronic care management with devices and reliable data,” Pittock said, noting that a growing number of its distribution partners are pharmacies. “They have specific reimbursement codes that they can utilize for chronic care management … that they are doing on behalf of their patient populations.” 

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