Managing Type 2 diabetes gets easier thanks to UnitedHealthcare and Dexcom

A few weeks after investing in a blood sugar tracking startup, Fitbit is doubling down on its commitment to helping those with diabetes. At CES 2018, health insurance provider UnitedHealthcare and continuous glucose monitoring company Dexcom announced a new pilot program centered around wearable tech provided by Fitbit to help those with Type 2 diabetes better address their health in real time.

Under the new pilot, eligible UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plan participants will be able to leverage both a Fitbit (either an Ionic or Charge 2 device) as well as the Dexcom Mobile Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) System to keep tabs on their glucose levels throughout the day, helping them better match actions with outcomes. The CGM system is comprised of a sensor, generally worn on the abdomen, that detects glucose levels immediately beneath the skin. A companion transmitter sends this information to a smartphone, which interprets and displays the data every five minutes.

This constant monitoring might be able to help patients determine what behaviors positively or negatively affect their glucose levels, and take action accordingly. And thanks to the personalized coaching and activity monitoring provided by the Fitbit device, users should be able to turn insights into action.

As the medical industry turns increasingly to wearable devices and new technology, UnitedHealthcare is looking to stay on trend. As such, the company says its new focus is on “integrating human support with data from real-time sources, such as digital health technology, and historical sources, like claims data, to help improve and personalize how people navigate the health care system.” The pilot with DexCom and Fitbit seeks to empower patients to manage their own glucose levels, thereby reducing the amount of medication they require and improving their own confidence in going about their everyday lives.

This isn’t the first time that Fitbit has worked alongside DexCom or UnitedHealthcare. Last fall, the two companies collaborated to bring DexCom CGM data to the Fitbit Ionic, and last January, Fitbit’s Charge 2 became the first buy-up device option added to the UHC Motion program, an employer-sponsored wearable device program that encourages individuals to walk more frequently. Since the beginning of that program, participants have collectively walked more than 130 billion steps.

Update: Added information about Fitbit giveaway with UnitedHealthcare’s pilot program.

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