Myoung Cha, chief strategy officer at Carbon Health, spoke with MobiHealthNews via email to discuss the program’s results, how his previous experience at Apple influences his decisions, and how combining in-person care and technology will drive Carbon Health’s platform in the future.
MobiHealthNews: Can you tell me about Carbon Health’s diabetes program? How does it work, and what has the data shown?
Cha: We launched our diabetes program earlier this year, and we are excited about the results that we have seen so far. Our program is endocrinologist-led, team-based and integrated with primary care to deliver a connected and well-coordinated experience for patients with all forms of diabetes.
One of the things that makes our program unique is the native integration of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) into our electronic health record, which puts this data at the fingertips of our providers. Our patients are able to view their own glucose data and annotate it with logs of their food, exercise and insulin right in our patient app – all of this data is visible to both the patient and the care team to personalize goals, education and treatment. One of my favorite features is our meal ranking list, which shows patients their best meals and worst meals ranked by glucose excursions.
Our clinical team has studied our outcomes from the program so far and found that two-thirds of the program’s patients with uncontrolled diabetes (A1c ≥7.0%) have achieved and maintained recommended glycemic targets, while patients with baseline A1c >9.0% saw an average A1c reduction of 4.2%.
MHN: What’s your viewpoint on the current state of chronic care management?
Cha: Care for chronic disease patients is often disconnected and fragmented across multiple providers and specialties, and the friction of coordinating all of this care is often left to patients to manage themselves. Care is often also episodic and reactive, which creates more problems down the road when earlier, preventative actions are not taken.
We have designed our model of care, which we call Connective Care, to solve some of these pain points for chronic disease patients. We integrate care across multiple providers with our EHR, and our measurement-led care model is fueled by engagement and data that create shorter feedback loops that allow our care teams to intervene proactively and earlier to achieve better outcomes.
MHN: Carbon Health has established numerous partnerships, including collaborations with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. The company also acquired remote patient monitoring company Alertive Healthcare, a chain of New Jersey urgent care clinics, two clinic chains in Arizona and California, and a group of clinics in Southern California. Will the diabetes program be implemented in conjunction with your partners’ offerings and within these acquired companies? If so, how?
Cha: Our diabetes program is currently offered to all patients who have diabetes in California, and we are aiming to expand it to other states in the future.
Our acquisition of Alertive Healthcare opens the door for us to expand our chronic care management beyond diabetes to provide care programs for patients with hypertension as well. Ideally, patients who are part of the diabetes program will also be able to engage in those programs if they meet the diagnosis requirement.
MHN: How did your time as head of Apple’s health strategic initiatives influence the decisions you’ve made as chief strategy officer at Carbon Health?
Cha: At Apple, I spent much of my time working on consumer wearables like the Apple Watch and learned a ton about the translation of hardware data and just how much critical information you can uncover from wearing a device on your wrist. I became passionate about the idea of connected care and the ability to share this data directly with your provider, which then inspired the work that the team and I do at Carbon Health.
MHN: How do you see Carbon Health progressing within the chronic care space as time goes on, and how will the combination of humans and technology play a role in that progression?
Cha: We’ve found that the connection of hardware data via the integration of technology plus an interdisciplinary care team combined with primary care is the most effective way to provide chronic care management support – and the data announced today underscores our efforts.
We plan to leverage this model to expand our offerings for other chronic illnesses, increasing our ability to help patients on their health journeys.