Glucose Buddy inks app deal with Roche

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 1, 2009        

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glucose_buddy_diabetes_helperMYLEstone Health, developer of the Glucose Buddy iPhone app, is working with Roche Diagnostics’ Accu-Chek to add its educational program to the Glucose Buddy diabetes management app. Even though the addition of Accu-Chek’s educational program to the iPhone app is a far cry from meter integration, MYLEstone co-founder Matthew Tendler told mobihealthnews, it is a step in the right direction and it will bring substantial value to people with diabetes and iPhones.

In early March one of the other big four meter makers was interested in working with us, but given Glucose Buddy’s availability exclusively on the iPhone, the company saw a limited opportunity, Tendler said. A few weeks later Apple invited LifeScan on-stage at an iPhone event to demonstrated a Bluetooth-enabled blood glucose monitor. Tendler said that the next morning everyone held meetings to discuss how they could break into the iPhone.

Roche, who could be considered a competitor of LifeScan’s, believes that it is time to get their name out there and begin offering diabetics something on the iPhone now, and work toward meter integration in the future, Tendler said.

“That’s really where  [Glucose Buddy is] at right now,” Tendler said. “That’s how we feel we can best make a difference. We’re not talking a huge game and promising to convince doctors to change the way they have worked for fifty years. We aren’t going to promise diabetics that we are going to convince them to start checking their blood sugar if they never had before.”

With the additional education program from Roche, Glucose Buddy allows diabetics to set up a management plan with doctors and other caregivers, Tendler said. It’s not just a reference guide or a bunch of articles on the subject, it’s a plan for getting patients and doctors to work together, he added. 

While LifeScan’s demonstration at the iPhone 3.0 event seemed to catalyze the big players with products that address diabetes, Tendler said the company did a disservice to diabetics by hyping a prototype that may not be on the market for a very long time. 

“Apple keynotes are presented publicly to the world and shouldn’t be treated like a dinner table conversation: ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we could do this…’” Tendler said. “In that sense why would LifeScan go out there and say this is what we are going to do when it could be six months away, two years away or even never. That’s what I question.”

“A lot of companies are doing the same thing,” Tendler said. “BlackBerry is another example of a company that announces it will make a really great mobile product that can handle banking, healthcare… everyone is so quick to include ‘health’ because that’s the buzz word. It doesn’t seem like companies are really taking proactive steps that help people. There’s just a lot of talk.”