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UnitedHealth creates its own digital health program for type 2 diabetes

As Livongo, Omada Health, and other well-established digital health programs continue to grow, another company is pushing into the crowded marketplace for diabetes management.

The new entrant: UnitedHealth Group.

The insurer is rolling out a new digital health program for patients with Type 2 diabetes to more than 230,000 of its members across 27 states. Called Level2, it was developed internally by UnitedHealth Group Research and Development. The program combines connected wearables with coaching to give participants more information about their health and help them manage blood sugar levels.

Users are equipped with Dexcom’s continuous glucose monitor and a Fitbit activity tracker, and receive app-based alerts. They also receive one-on-one coaching, and can get a specialist consultation through video chat. The program is free, and participants are incentivized with rewards.

Earlier this year, Livongo announced a partnership with DexCom to sync data from its connected glucose monitors with its platform.

United tested the concept in a pilot with 790 members two years ago, starting with its Medicare Advantage plans. Some of them saw a clinically meaningful reduction in A1C levels within three months, though United didn’t share the full results from the pilot. It said participants with the most significantly elevated A1C levels were able to reduce blood sugars by more than 1% on average, and that participants were able to eliminate the need for 450 prescriptions by improving their health.

“Connected devices such as continuous glucose monitors and activity trackers may be game changers for the approximately 30 million people2 nationwide living with type 2 diabetes. By expanding this innovative new therapy to more members across the country, we are empowering people with actionable information and personalized support,” said Dr. Amy Meister, who worked with UnitedHealthcare’s research and development division before becoming CEO of Level2.

The company is making the program available to fully insured health plans in several states to start. Later this year, United plans to make Level2 available to its self-funded plans.

In the future, United hinted that it might expand the platform “to support people with other conditions beyond type 2 diabetes. Other digital health companies that started with diabetes programs have expanded to other indications. For example, Omada also has programs for hypertension, behavioral health, and more recently added physical therapy to its repertoire with its acquisition of Physera.

Photo credit: screenshot from Level2 website

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