Pack Chat: Dhiren Patel, PharmD

07.25.19

Dhiren Patel, PharmD is Pack Health’s Vice President of Medical Affairs. He is also a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and Board Certified in Advanced Diabetes Management (BC-ADM). We sat down with Dhiren to talk about our recent partnership with Glooko, a diabetes management solution that helps integrate devices to deliver data to care teams. He’ll be talking a little bit more about how Glooko will benefit Type 2 Diabetes members, where he sees data expanding, and the overall goal of this partnership.

 

Time to read: 5 mins

 

INTERVIEWER: Thanks for talking with me today! I know our readers are interested in learning more about the new Glooko partnership and how it will benefit our members with Type 2 Diabetes. To give some context, do you want to start off with a little bit of history surrounding the Pack Health Type 2 Diabetes member track?

DHIREN: Sure! When Pack Health was founded in 2013, the big question was, “what condition are we going to start with?” We realized that diabetes numbers were astronomical. Over 30 million people have diabetes and 86 million have pre-diabetes. So, in 2014 we launched our first condition-specific track which was Type 2 Diabetes. It’s been refined over the years, and so it’s a program that has the most amount of data and the most amount of enhancements that we’ve had.

In 2016, we designed digital lessons and in 2017 added care coordination and care escalations. Recently, as of 2018 and 2019, we’ve added device integrations. That means that if a member with Type 2 diabetes has any type of activity trackers or connected device (blood pressure machine, weight scale, etc) we have the ability to integrate with them.

INTERVIEWER: Right! This allows for our Health Advisors to learn more about their members to better help them stay on track.

DHIREN: Definitely. Recently, we’ve just recently announced a partnership with Glooko, which is really exciting. This partnership allows our members with Type 2 diabetes who have a connected device, whether it be a glucometer, a CGM, or any connected diabetes device, to provide that information to our Health Advisors. Then, Health Advisors are able to use that information when coaching them. It provides another dimension of data that previously wasn’t as readily available.

INTERVIEWER: That probably makes it a lot easier for Health Advisors and members. Then they can spend more time really talking about their goals when they have their weekly chats instead of reviewing metrics. So what spurred the partnership with Glooko?

DHIREN: The partnership with Glooko stemmed from the evolving landscape of connected devices in the management of Type 2 Diabetes. As we researched partners, we saw Glooko as a leader in this space. We wanted to be device agnostic: we didn’t want to limit any of our members to a specific meter, to a specific brand, or to a specific device. Glooko allowed us all of those integrations and the ability for patients to be able to bring your own device. It was a very natural fit from what we believed in as to what they believed in, making it the perfect partnership.

INTERVIEWER: It’s a perfect fit! What will the Glooko integration look like for Pack Health members? What is it going to be like on the day to day for them, for patients with Type 2 diabetes?

DHIREN: The integration and the user experience is actually going to be pretty user-friendly and seamless. Once they sync their device, the health advisors on our side have a dashboard within their interface. Health Advisors are able to look at all of the information in real-time, as well as in relationship to other activity, other feeds that they might be getting.

INTERVIEWER: So the data isn’t siloed. That’s really helpful.

DHIREN: Exactly. For example, if a Health Advisor was to see that a member’s blood sugar was running low, they could also see at the same time if that was in relation to exercise. Health Advisors have the activity data from the member’s wearable, and they can start to coach around these data points together. They can assess if a certain incident is potentially an educational opportunity for the member to learn when to have a small snack to prevent regular lows that they might be experiencing. Being able to detect trends and patterns are going to be of great value, not only for the member but also for the health coaches to be able to deliver that personalized information.

INTERVIEWER: That’s going to be really beneficial for the members! Besides the data benefits, what are some distinct benefits for members to start using Glooko?

DHIREN: If a patient with diabetes were to use Glooko within the Pack Health offering, one major benefit is the fact that you have another person on the care team looking at this information. Generally, a patient will bring in a glucometer to a provider, but the provider might not have the time to dig through each reading and may just look at a 14-day or 30-day average. They may not be able to ask probing questions as to why their blood sugar spiked last Tuesday morning or the patient may not be able to recall as to why they had a low. Health advisors have that time to dig into the details to help figure out how day-to-day behavior is intersecting with glycemic outcomes.

INTERVIEWER: So health advisors are able to provide a more granular look at their daily health outcomes.

DHIREN: Yes, and it also helps them pick up different patterns. For example, if the member is trying a new type of food, the Health Advisor can see if they’re seeing spikes or if they’re not. Then, the Health Advisor and the member can have conversations surrounding the benefits or determents of this new food introduction. Health Advisors have the time to do that. Unfortunately, clinicians have time restraints on their visits and can’t spend the time that is really needed.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, and that day-to-day behavior really makes a difference in overall behavior change.

DHIREN: Yes, completely. At the end of the day, it’s the law of averages. You’re going to get high and low readings, and an A1C result could look good, but you don’t see the rollercoaster a member might be on until you take a closer look at the readings.

INTERVIEWER: It sounds like this is going to be a major advantage for our members with diabetes. What do you think this partnership will do for Pack Health as a company?

DHIREN: One of the biggest benefits for us will be in regard to outcomes and ongoing engagement. Just data by itself is not helpful. We’ve seen this with wearables and activity trackers. However, our integration of data and personalized coaching really sets us apart. This combination of tracking plus the coaching component is what we’re looking for. Now that we have this information available to us, both from the member side, as well as the health advisor side, in real-time, what we’re looking to do is see if we can get improved outcomes, as well as ongoing engagement. Furthermore, it allows members to bring their own devices.

Our overall goal is to help those with Type 2 diabetes have fewer things to do each day. They have a ton of things that we ask them to do, like check their feet and check their blood sugar. We’re hoping that through the partnership it will be a little bit easier for a patient that has Type 2 diabetes to go about their day.

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For more information on our recent partnership with Glooko, check out our press release!