Healthcare system partners with AI mobile app that helps diabetes patients

Physicians with WellSpan Health, a Pennsylvania-based healthcare system, will now have access to a smartphone application that uses artificial intelligence to help people with diabetes.

The healthcare system announced its new partnership with Sweetch on Wednesday, Oct. 31. Through the partnership, the app will be provided to the system’s 15,000 employees, including 200 primary care and specialty physicians and advanced practice clinicians.

The Sweetch app is an AI digital therapeutic solution that’s designed to help predict, prevent and improve outcomes for people with diabetes. The app uses a proprietary machine learning algorithm to accurately quantify diabetes risk in a user. It also monitors and analyzes a user’s personal, environmental and behavioral digital biomarkers in an effort to help guide them toward disease-prevention goals.

The hospital plans to use the app to augment its wellness assessment program, according to Charles Chodroff, MD, WellSpan Health’s senior vice president, population health and chief clinical officer.

"We have been leaders in developing effective wellness programs for our employees and the local business community for many years and have been providing detailed personalized assessments identifying chronic disease risk factors,” Chodroff said in a statement. “This new smartphone platform will take our program to the next level, by helping to target those individuals who are at the greatest risk by giving them a super-personalized tool, which automatically adapts to each individual's life habits.”

More than one-third of U.S. adults 18 or older have diabetes, about 84 million people, according to the CDC. The price of managing and treating patients with diabetes is one of the costliest healthcare expenses in the country, with patients having 2.3 higher medical expenditures than if they did not have the disease. Interventions that delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes have proven to significantly reduce healthcare costs. 

"Diabetes is one of the world's most common and costly chronic illnesses, affecting one in 11 adults globally," Dana Chanan, Sweetch chief executive officer and co-founder, said in a statement. "AI and machine learning is a must-have for fighting this epidemic. We see a great opportunity to collaborate with a leading healthcare organization that has its mission to improve health through exceptional care for all, lifelong wellness and healthy communities."

Other innovations in healthcare technology have focused on reducing the impact and cost of diabetes, including AI to better predict diabetes risk. Similarly, Sweetch quantifies diabetes risk to enable early an effective intervention.