Diabetes today affects more than 350 million people across the globe. And the numbers are growing daily. It is a condition in which the insulin producing capacity of the body is severely reduced and this results in uncontrolled blood sugar. This can, in chronic conditions, lead to delayed healing of wounds, failure of eye sight, kidney disorders and even death. One of the challenges of Diabetes management has been the need for continuous monitoring of blood glucose levels.
Remote monitoring is the most effective system to combat diabetes.
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Traditionally doctors would prescribe tests to be carried out in labs. But of late there are many home glucose monitors that can monitor the levels daily. Unfortunately all these readings would either have to be written down manually or entered into an excel sheet in the computer.
Realizing the problem faced by his diabetic father daily, Shreekanth Pawar, a Mumbai based pharmacist and founder of Farasbee, started working on a device that will connect the home glucose monitor with a smart phone. He was joined on this mission by another young engineer Himanshu Jain and together they have created what is probably India’s first remote blood glucose monitoring device ‘Diabeto”.
‘Diabeto’ is a remote monitoring device that connects the glucometer to a smart phone through blue tooth. Diabeto was designed by an Industrial designer in India and currently 20 pieces are available. Bulk production is planned in India and China. The device can be charged using a USB charger and can last for 2-3 days once charged fully. It also has an auto switch off function if not used for more than 2 minutes. To learn more about Diabeto click here.
Currently 5 types of glucometers are compatible with and soon more meters will be added to the list. According to Shreekanth, who is the currently the founder CMO for Farasbee, the parent company that created Diabeto, the plan is to launch the product in the US and Europe first as most Glucometers available in India don’t have data ports. But an India launch is very much on the horizon.
Physicians agree that using a tracking device to monitor blood glucose levels is cost effective and also raises compliance levels. It also helps physicians to take corrective action if the levels are not within the normal parameters. Also in case of Type 1 or Juvenile onset Diabetes it is very useful as some children may not want to give correct readings driven by the desire to consume sweets.
Patient compliance with Diabetes treatment is higher if mobile technology is used in the treatment.
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Currently Farasbee is in talks with Pharmaceutical firms and Glucometer manufacturers. “The objective is to find a partner with distribution capability,” says Himanshu Jain, co-founder and COO. In addition to launching it in the US and Europe, Diabeto would need Food and Drug Administration (FDA ) approval in addition to the CEE.
For the device to gain traction, the company has developed a “Diabeto” android application which will allow patients to see their data on their smart phones. The application can be freely downloaded from the Google Play stores. It allows you to store the data with comments. Eventually it is proposed that this application would allow you to send the data as an SMS to your physician. Currently there is an option to export the data to an excel sheet or to email the readings to the physician. There are also plans to launch the Diabeto application version on Apple iOS.
(The Diabeto android app)
Diabeto actually sits at the convergence of Hardware (device), product engineering, Applications (Android), mobility and healthcare. To make such a product work there were multiple teams working together towards the common vision and that was the biggest challenge that Diabeto faced says CMO Shreekanth.
To make sure that they leverage technology appropriately, CMO Shreekanth is focusing on e-commerce as a channel to sell the product. The plan is to price Diabeto in the $ 55- 80 price range, which makes it cheaper than the other devices. Eventually he expects physical retailers to stock up Diabeto as well.
What does the future hold for the team ‘Diabeto’? Well the future seems bright. They have just qualified for the “Power of ideas 2012” contest organized by Economic times. They have been covered by Economic Times as part of the contest and are covered by other healthcare thought leaders as well. They have recently opened their US office in Pennsylvania and next month Shreekanth is planning to travel to Europe to meet potential partners. The company is overall led by Amir Shaik who is the founder of the file sharing site’yousendit’.
There are plans to launch services around Diabeto and currently the team is strategizing on that and is looking at cloud based services. Shreekanth who has founded other companies like ‘toonio.com’,’ toonwork’ and ‘tritontech’ feels that it is a matter of time before they target other therapeutic areas for remote monitoring.
In a world where the battle with Diabetes has entered a definitive stage, this Indian start-up is doing its bit for society and I hope for our sake they succeed.
(CEO Amir Shaik)
(COO Himanshu Jain)
(CMO: Shreekanth Pawar)