Digital health technologies made strides forward in cardiovascular and metabolic disease (CVMD) indications in 2017, in wearable devices, apps, and text messaging capabilities. Developers such as Merck, Novo Nordisk, Roche, and Sanofi design web services and apps for people living with chronic diseases such as diabetes, while AliveCor and BioSig bring innovative technologies to serve people with heart arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation (AF) and tachycardia.

Developers of marketed and upcoming CVMD wearable devices, apps, and text messaging

Merck uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) to develop voice-enabled solutions to help improve management of people living with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, by using Amazon Lex, the same deep learning technologies that power Amazon Alexa. Novo Nordisk and Glooko’s Cornerstones4Care powered by the Glooko app (C4C app) and Roche’s app, mySugr, also help people to more effectively manage their diabetes. Sanofi and Voluntis’s app focuses on digital insulin titration solutions, which will help type 2 diabetes (T2D) patients on basal insulin improve their self-management.

To help better diagnosis and treatment of complex arrhythmias, BioSig Technologies, in partnership with the Mayo Clinic, is developing the PURE EP cardiac signal acquisition and display platform, while AliveCor’s platform, Kardia Pro, uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help identify AF.

Notable CVMD clinical studies integrating digital technologies

The American Heart Association (AHA) teamed up with IBM Watson Health, the cognitive system division of IBM Corporation. AHA’s science-based metrics and health assessments will be combined with IBM’s cognitive analytics and the solution will be delivered on Welltok’s health optimisation app platform.

Google’s former life-science arm, Verily, has initiated Project Baseline, a study with 10,000 participants to gain better understanding of the physical and biochemical predisposition to various illnesses. The company will be using its proprietary technology, a sensor-based smart watch designed to capture a huge volume of data. Participants will be wearing this watch on a daily basis and will also have their whole genomes sequenced and various biospecimens taken. Their behavior, including social media activity, will also be monitored.

MannKind and OneDrop are collaborating on the A-ONE study, a randomized controlled trial investigating the use of Afrezza (inhaled technosphere insulin) with an integrated digital diabetes care platform that could potentially deliver improved health outcomes in a more cost-effective way compared to standards of care.

Treatment adherence and cardiovascular lifestyle changes are key to secondary prevention in patients with myocardial infarction (MI). AstraZeneca and Scientific Med AB are collaborating on the SUPPORT study to evaluate the potential of mobile-phone–based interactive patient support tools to improve adherence regarding drug treatment and lifestyle modifications in patients diagnosed with MI.

Ideal CVMD digital health technology attributes

Innovative digital health technology will provide invaluable patient information and insights that could improve individualized patient care while reducing healthcare cost; however, effective adoption and implementation of digital health technologies is the key to success.

Attributes of ideal digital health technology in CVMD include: unobtrusive monitoring systems that deliver useful and meaningful data that impact patient management, combining data analytics with AI for improved diagnosis and treatment plans, user-friendly technologies with easy-to-interpret data, and cost-effective technologies that support management, lifestyle modification, and patient compliance.

The ability to reduce hospital admissions and mortality in patients with CV disease and/or patients with implanted cardiac devices, and the capability to recognize and proactively prevent CV and metabolic diseases, could mean better quality of life for these patients and reduced healthcare cost in the CVMD space.