Q&A: Ascensia’s Russ Newsome

Health apps should be seamless, predictive
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Friday, August 17, 2018

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Ascensia Diabetes Care recently selected the Culinary Coach, a digital solution from U.K.-based Whisk that provides personalized food recommendations to users, as the winner of its Ascensia Diabetes Challenge.

Ascensia sought digital solutions to support Type 2 diabetes management to draw attention to the rapidly changing market.

“We felt we needed to unleash more understanding in the market of what other innovations are coming in the form of better overall diabetes care,” said Russ Newsome, head of Region Americas, Ascensia.

Newsome spoke with HME News recently about the need for more digital health solutions to support self-care.

HME News: The Culinary Coach beat out 115 competitors. What made it stand out for the judges?

Russ Newsome: We looked at what they’ve been able to map out and what they are looking to do with artificial intelligence—it’s really fascinating. What Whisk proposed is, they’ve started to map out in digital ways the whole nutrition ecosystem across all different ingredients and all different types of food to simplify it. From a commercial point of view, many Type 2s struggle with nutrition and weight management. The app makes it easy for people to make smart choices as it relates to nutrition.

HME: What makes one app more successful than another?

Newsome: If people have to self-report or actually have to type into the app, they will do it for a while but then they will start to disengage because, I guess, it’s interfering with the typical way they want to manage their day. If it’s more seamless or automatic integration of data that’s being transmitted the engagement is higher.

HME: How do such apps help change patient behavior?

Newsome: One element is providing insight; it’s not just recording a data result, it’s actually projecting a little bit of insight back to the patient of the things they might want to consider for improving into the future. That kind of predictive insight, if it’s built into the app, really helps to act as a coach to help them make a different decision than they might make on their own.