Technology in healthcare has advanced immensely. When it comes to diabetes, these advances in technology have enabled huge improvements in diagnosis, therapies and ongoing management. They have provided improved monitoring devices, better comprehensive glucose data collection and more effective and automated insulin delivery systems, all of which assist patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals.
One of the leaders in this field is Ascensia Diabetes Care. They were established in 2016 and have their roots in more than 70 years of delivering innovative blood glucose monitoring solutions. The company has a longstanding heritage in diabetes and is dedicated to helping people living with this condition.
â€œOur mission is to empower people living with diabetes through innovative solutions that simplify and improve their lives,â€ says the CEO of Ascensia, Michael Kloss.â€œWhat that means is we want to use the specialist expertise and insights from our many years in this field, alongside an exciting approach to R&D and innovation, to develop high-quality solutions that make lives easier for people with diabetes. We want diabetes to have almost no impact on the rest of their lives.â€ Since diabetes is a condition based on self-management by people with diabetes, minimizing the impact of the disease is only possible using state-of-the-art digital technologies and cutting edge software.
Treading a new Path
In 2016, Ascensia was founded through the sale of the Bayer Diabetes Care business to PHC Holdings Corporation (previously known as Panasonic Healthcare Holdings).This changed how they operated as a company and opened up new potential for Ascensia. As an independent company, there is the focus, commitment and resources that can drive growth and long-term sustainability of the diabetes care business. By establishing Ascensia as a new company, it is better placed to deliver on this mission and help the patients it aims to serve.
And once instituted, Ascensia kick-started its future with its first product as an independent company â€“ the CONTOURÂ®Â NEXT ONE â€“ which was also its first with a smartphone app. This blood glucose monitoring system has been rolled out in more than 30 countries across Europe, Canada and the US. The CONTOURÂ® NEXT ONE system is a highly accurate and easy-to-use wireless-enabled blood glucose smart meter. Linked to a smartphone through Bluetooth, the meter connects to the CONTOURÂ®Â DIABETES app, where it collects, stores, and analyzes patient blood glucose measurements received from the meter.
â€œPatients want easier ways to capture blood glucose data and share it with their healthcare professionals,â€ explains the CEO. â€œThe app functions as an electronic logbook that allows people to track their own readings and share reports with healthcare professionals to support more informed discussions about diabetes management.â€
The development of applications and software for diabetes management, such as the CONTOURÂ®Â DIABETES app, has started the move into a new field called interconnected diabetes management (IDM), an area that uses connected devices, software and data processing capabilities to support diabetes management.
Today, Ascensia is evolving to meet the changing needs of people with diabetes. â€œOur core product portfolio is based on the remarkable accuracy of blood glucose measurements and user-friendly features that help make diabetes management easierâ€ proudly notes the CEO. â€œBut we also know we will have to expand beyond this as the market is changing. People with diabetes have different needs than before and cost for our products is under even more scrutiny, so we have to find ways to provide more value to people with diabetes and healthcare systems.â€
Pushing the Boundaries of Innovation
IDM is a key area of innovation and development for Ascensia, as many feel it is the future of diabetes care and will enable more effective diabetes self-management through data capture, analysis, feedback and coaching. With its innovative mobile health solutions for diabetes, Ascensia is contributing tremendously to this future. The CONTOURÂ®Â DIABETES app is the first entry into the field of IDM, having been launched in 30 countries, and the second release of the app has recently launched. This is just the start and Ascensia are working on future releases and additional IDM solutions that meet the needs of people with diabetes.
As the use of connected devices and digital solutions become more widespread in diabetes, data security and data protection become increasingly important. The company has been actively involved in the Diabetes Technology Societyâ€™s DTSec initiative, which is a cyber security standard with a goal to raise confidence in the security of network-connected medical devices through independent expert security evaluation. Recently, the CONTOURÂ® NEXT ONE and CONTOURÂ® PLUS ONE systems from Ascensia were certified by the DTS Cybersecurity Standard for Connected Diabetes Device Security and are the only devices to have achieved this standard. Ascensia has also built safeguards into Ascensiaâ€™s cloud systems to keep the data secure, including the latest cryptographic techniques.
And Ascensia is not only using its own R&D to develop IDM solutions. It recently held the Ascensia Diabetes Challenge, a global innovation competition that seeks innovative digital solutions to support diabetes management and improve the lives of people with type 2 diabetes. The challenge aims to find new ways by unearthing undiscovered digital solutions from startups and entrepreneurs and represents a new way to develop new solutions. Ascensia recently announced the six finalists and will soon be announcing the winner in June 2018.
The future holds many promising prospects for Ascensia as it continues to innovate. Recently the global launch of the new upgraded version of the CONTOURÂ®Â DIABETES app took place. The upgrade includes a new My Patterns feature, which uses innovative algorithms to more intelligently analyze blood glucose results received from the CONTOURÂ®Â NEXT ONE meter and delivers personalized meaningful feedback to patients. This feedback is designed to help patients to improve diabetes self-management and maintain positive lifestyle changes. This latest release is an example of a solution getting smarter to better meet the needs of people with diabetes and is only possible by using connectivity and the computing power of modern mobile devices to create a state-of-the-art solution.
Speaking of the future plans, Kloss says, â€œWe are continuing to expand our offerings for people with diabetes and healthcare professionals. Although our core BGM business will continue to be important, we are continuing to expand more into other areas of diabetes management, particularly IDM. We believe that IDM is the future of diabetes care.â€
As part of its continued expansion into IDM, Ascensia has set the goal to provide holistic solutions that enable people with diabetes to use data and connectivity to help improve all aspects of their diabetes management. This is not just data collection, but includes coaching, use of medication, support with lifestyle improvements and disease management recommendations. It will also require new business models and the ability to demonstrate value to patients, healthcare professionals and payers. In the years to come, Ascensia plans to use its innovation and R&D programs to be at the forefront of holistic diabetes care solutions.
Michael Kloss is the CEO of Ascensia Diabetes Care and has held this position since the organization was launched as a new, standalone company in January 2016. Kloss has more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries and has held a variety of positions. He joined Bayer Consumer Care in 1995 as Export Manager in Paris, France. Since then he has held various roles at Bayer. Prior to Ascensia Diabetes Care, Kloss served as Global Head of Diabetes Care Commercial Operations at Bayer Consumer Care for 3 years. He received his bachelorâ€™s degree at the University of Birmingham, UK and his MBA from the University of Paris. He also studied Executive Leadership at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA.