For many diabetics, everyday life is complicated and insecure. Truls Sjöstedt, co-founder of the Swedish NASDAQ OMX-listed company Brighter, gained painful firsthand knowledge of the disease when his wife, a type 1 diabetic, was pregnant for the first time. It was then he decided that there had to be a better way to manage treatment recommendations that involve measuring blood glucose and injecting insulin.

That was the beginning of an exciting journey, and last year Brighter engaged Veryday to develop a new generation of diabetes management tools. Our common goal was to improve the lives of patients with diabetes and other chronic conditions. Together we set out to create an intuitively superior system that would make their daily lives easier, and also streamline and improve monitoring and transparency within the healthcare system. We sat down for a chat with Henrik Norström, COO of Brighter, to get an update on the progress of the groundbreaking new Actiste® device.

For those who may not be familiar with Brighter, would you tell us a bit about your business?

Brighter was founded in 2007 to develop a method that facilitates diabetes self-monitoring and self-treatment. Our basic solution patent is for a medical device that integrates sampling, biomarker measurement and injection. The patent was approved in the EU in 2010, and China and Japan followed suit; patents are pending in USA, Brazil, India and Indonesia. Since initial approval, several new patent applications have been filed to further enhance the market offering. Brighter is in a unique position to capitalize on a strong base of user-generated healthcare data for the benefit of diabetics. Plus, the opportunity goes beyond diabetes since many of the new biological drugs under development require injection.

How would you say the Actiste device fills the gap for today’s insulin-treated diabetic?

Today, type 1 and type 2 insulin-treated diabetics face a complicated process of multiple daily administrations. Insulin-treated diabetics must carry a blood sample lancet, a blood glucose monitor (BGM), a vial of test strips, a pouch of needles and lancets, an insulin pen and a digital or paper log. We worked together with dedicated designers from Veryday to create a device that generates an unprecedented adherence to treatment recommendations. By reducing the number of steps, Actiste will induce diabetics to more easily follow their routine. Concordance will improve, and consequential complications like kidney failure and risk of stroke, amputations and cardiovascular events will reduce while life expectancy increases. Actiste is so easy to use that diabetics can actually perform a blood glucose measurement with the device before injecting the corresponding insulin dose. With Actiste, they can carry one device that encompasses all these functions and can also transfer or share their automatic data log with whomever they choose – all for a flat monthly fee. In our opinion, making concordance so much easier for an affordable flat rate is a strong argument for filling a huge gap in treatment recommendations.

You often use the term “benefit loop.” What do you mean by that?

The Benefit Loop® illustrates how improved treatment recommendations lead to better quality of life by reducing the consequential complications most often experienced by insulin-treated diabetics. The cloud-based data storage and analytics service receives data from Actiste devices and aggregates data from external sensors and other sources. A positive feedback loop is created for relevant stakeholders – primarily diabetics, their healthcare professionals, caregivers and next of kin. A recent study we commissioned in Sweden concluded that 80 percent of persons 18-29 years of age and 70 percent of those 18-69 years of age would willingly share their data with R&D, the pharmaceutical industry and insurance providers, considering the data is well protected. There’s a potentially huge market for user-generated health data that in turn generates a financial feedback loop and economic effectiveness in the healthcare sector. In creating the Benefit Loop, we focused extensively on user experience interfaces for tablets, handsets, and other devices that are key interaction touchpoints for stakeholders. We want to create digital endorphins™!

There’s a potentially huge market for user-generated health data that in turn generates a financial feedback loop and economic effectiveness in the healthcare sector.

Henrik Norström

How have you engaged with the users so far?

Together with Veryday we have so far we conducted user research in June and November of 2015 and in May 2016. Evaluation results has constantly been fed back and analyzed in a structured way, the data has been translated into actionable development actions ensuring that the overall objective in terms of user experience has been met. Outcomes shows that Actiste has huge potential for success, with a vast majority of participants saying that Actiste is as good as, better or much better than existing devices. We’ll continue to perform user research throughout development and industrialization, and perform outcome studies post-launch.

What do you foresee in the next several years when it comes to digital diabetes management?

Wow, that’s a huge question with many answers! Here are a few of my best guesses:

1. Digital imaging improvements that allow calories to be calculated just by taking a photo of a meal.

2. Algorithms that help calculate the appropriate insulin dose corresponding to Blood Glucose (BG) value.

3. Positive addiction – digital endorphins – methodologies beyond “gamification” to improve adherence beyond Actiste.

4. Non-invasive BG measurement. This one’s a challenge…