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6 tips for integrating a connected device into a digital health program

4 min read

When it comes to managing conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes, digital health programs need swift, regular updates about how patients are faring. Real-time insights into biomarkers such as weight and heart rate are essential for making fast, potentially life-saving care decisions, especially for seniors or others with chronic health issues.

Connected in-home health devices enable this vision to become a reality. This data allows care teams to adjust care plans, prescribe medications or identify early intervention strategies.

Why are health programs integrating connected devices?

Before sharing some tips about connected devices, it is interesting to understand why they are particularly useful in digital health programs. Without connected devices, the performance of digital health programs strongly and exclusively rely on the patient. Some behaviors that have been noticed in patients, and which could impact care, include: making an error in reporting the last blood-pressure reading, missing a measurement, or not wanting to report a measurement. In addition, having to think about measurements and manually report them on a specific interface can be painful for patients. Either patients are deeply annoyed by the process and feel less engaged in the whole program, or they abandon the full treatment. By automatically synchronizing data and providing trends and a history of objective data, connected devices provide an answer to many of these issues.

As Dr. Emil Baccash explained in a recent New York Times article, “[It is] taught in medical school that taking a medical history gives you 90 percent of the information you need, with the 10 percent coming from the physical exam.”

If connected devices are well chosen, they can help to reduce friction in the user experience. With less friction, patients are more engaged and become the main actors in their own care, which is key to achieving better health outcomes. Some studies have already proven that connected devices are changing the way chronic care is managed. More recent evidence from the American Medical Association confirms that providers are looking for digital health tools, including connected devices, to treat chronic illness.

But the goal of better healthcare outcomes using connected devices is only achievable if the devices are efficient. Here a few tips to help ensure that connected devices will add the maximum value to your program.

The importance of a well-chosen device

The right connected health devices can play a key role in this vision. Better health outcomes are only achieved if connected devices are efficient and engaging. This involves numerous factors:

Ease of use. Any friction point along the way – such as installation requirements, complex instructions, or even the need for frequent battery changes will drive down program adoption rates. Patients need devices that are truly plug and play. With intuitive devices, patients are more engaged and become the main actors in their care. 

Cellular enabled. For too long, the health device industry relied on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to gather data from in-home devices, but these were cumbersome for patients to set up, and it limited who could participate (i.e., patients in rural areas or those without cell phones.) The answer to expanding access to patient data at home is using cellular devices that work right out of the box, regardless of whether the patient has cell service at home. This bridges the health equity gap by providing access to all patients, regardless of their tech-savviness or Wi-Fi/bluetooth connectivity limitations.

With the vision of making the lives of patients and care teams easier in combination with collaborating with hundreds of digital health partners and clinicians, Withings Health Solutions developed Body Pro 2. This advanced cellular smart scale transforms chronic condition management by offering personalized motivational messages, a vibrant LCD color screen, and engaging health trend data to show progress. 

Designed around positive health changes. Most in-home devices are a bit depressing to look at and do little to inspire patients. A sleek look and feel can make a profound difference on the patient experience and motivation. Designing in habit-forming features such as daily weather forecasts and motivational messages can help devices to effortlessly become part of patients’ everyday lives. 

Instant feedback. Patients are more engaged if they are able to see the results of their efforts. Being able to see decreased blood pressure or a lower weight after months of struggle is enough to keep patients motivated and confident in the program. A study published in the review Obesity shows that frequent weigh-ins with electronic graphic feedback are effective in preventing weight gain. Instant, understandable, color-coded feedback makes patients feel responsible for and more active in their care.

Accuracy. Devices should be highly accurate to provide precise data that will lead to the most efficient treatments. When considering a medical-grade device, look for agency approvals or markings indicating its accuracy.

Seamless integration. Devices should have the option to be easily integrated into a program’s existing workflow and to automate data collection, reducing the operational burden and associated costs. 

Integrate our suite of API solutions and retrieve data seamlessly, bridging the gap between our devices and your existing systems.

  • Easily integrate our drop shipment API in a matter of weeks – alternatively, if API development is not an option, use our portal and be up and running in just a few hours 
  • Eliminate the cost and headache of maintaining a third party fulfillment center or manually ordering devices with our drop shipment capabilities 
  • Avoid inventory risk and ensure patients get their devices shipped and delivered in a matter of days when dropshipping with Withings

How do health systems and patients benefit from this model?

Making better health part of daily life is possible with connected devices. These enable health systems to offer a higher level of care while fostering positive life changes in their patients. Through instant access to accurate patient data, care teams can better manage patients’ chronic conditions while alleviating extra work for their staff. With elegant, easy-to-use devices designed around patients’ daily lives, health systems can maximize program participation, improve health equity, and ultimately enhance outcomes for all. 

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Transforming Obesity Treatment with GLP-1s for Older Adults

A recent survey conducted by Gallup reported that perceived effectiveness of weight loss injections are relatively consistent among younger and middle-aged adults, with 70% of those aged 18 to 49 and 67% of those aged 50 to 64 reporting them as effective or extremely effective. Among adults aged 65 and older, however, reported effectiveness is much lower, at 48%. 

 

Older adults often face more health issues or comorbidities, which can make it challenging for them to lose weight and adhere consistently to their treatment plans. Additionally, healthcare providers may encounter greater difficulties in keeping older adults engaged and motivated throughout their weight loss journey.

 

This age-related disparity points to the need for more tailored treatment plans, closer monitoring of the patient’s day to day health metrics, and additional research to better understand the overall effectiveness of GLP-1 medication to treat obesity in older adults

Mitigating medication risk with remote health tech

One approach to addressing these challenges is the integration of digital care solutions, which can offer greater protection for older patients. By utilizing remote monitoring technologies, healthcare providers can track vital health metrics in real-time, allowing for prompt adjustments to treatment plans as needed. These tools can also facilitate regular communication between patients and providers, ensuring that any concerns or side effects are quickly addressed, thus enhancing the overall effectiveness and safety of the treatment.


With connected health devices that collect patient-generated data on a daily basis, care teams can have more insight into health risks that older patients are more susceptible to when taking GLP-1s:

 

  • Sarcopenia: About a quarter of GLP-1 agonist weight loss results from the loss of muscle and bone, both of which are necessary to protect us as we get older. Although some muscle loss is a natural part of aging, it accelerates while on GLP-1s. Weakened muscles can make everyday activities difficult, and can lead to falls or other injuries. Low muscle mass is also associated with poor health outcomes — researchers found that individuals with diabetes and low muscle mass have a higher risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease.
  • Malnutrition: Although suppression of appetite is a key mechanism of GLP-1 medications, too much appetite control can be dangerous, particularly in older adults who are more prone to having reduced food intake. Studies have found diminished appetite is a common problem for older adults — both those living at home and at care facilities. Early insight into a patient’s weight and body composition can help care teams intervene earlier to promote better appetite and food intake. Low muscle mass further compounds the risk of malnutrition. A study led by the Center for Translational Research in Aging & Longevity at Texas A&M University found that current care approaches for malnutrition often don’t account for the importance of muscle mass restoration. Researchers recognized the challenge of measuring body composition in clinical practice, noting “the need to raise awareness of the importance of screening and managing ‘at risk’ patients so it becomes routine is imperative for change to occur.”
  • Gastrointestinal side effects: Severe gastrointestinal side effects from these medications can result in dehydration, which may increase the likelihood of falls. The most commonly reported side effects include gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and nausea. When dehydration occurs, individuals are more prone to dizziness or fainting, raising the risk of falling. For older adults a fall could be the start of serious health issues and can even lead to a long-term disability. It is essential to ensure that older adults taking weight loss medications can monitor their hydration levels on a daily basis.

Daily monitoring of lean mass, water percentage and bones mass

With the Withings Body Pro 2 cellular scale, patients can weigh in each day at home and their body composition information will transmit to their care team automatically. This scale was designed for maximum ease of use, making it ideal for older patients who may not be tech savvy — there's no technical setup required, and patients can use it even if they don’t have a cell phone or internet service.

 

Daily lean mass, fat mass, water percentage and bone mass metrics provide early insight into which patients are struggling with muscle loss or malnutrition. With this data teams can more quickly identify problems and reach out to those in need. For instance, encouraging patients to increase protein in their diet, drink more water, and do light strength training may help stave off serious health issues. 

Motivating and connecting

According to the Pew Research Center, about 27 percent of American seniors live alone. This puts them at higher risk of social isolation, which can affect their well-being and increase their risk of health problems.
Beyond measuring body composition, the Body Pro 2 scale can deliver motivational messages to patients automatically. These messages might offer encouragement to keep walking regularly, take their readings more consistently, remind them of upcoming appointments or congratulate them for reaching a personal health goal.

Prioritizing a personalized approach

Safely prescribing GLP-1 medications for older adults requires a multifaceted approach that combines the integration of connected health devices, closer monitoring of patient body composition, and consistent patient motivation.

 

These technologies not only enhance the safety and effectiveness of weight loss treatments but also provide motivational support to help older patients stay engaged and connected. By addressing the unique challenges faced by older adults, healthcare providers improve the success of their program.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is informational and for content marketing purposes only. It should not be construed as medical advice. The content herein is not intended to replace professional medical consultation, diagnosis, or treatment. We expressly recommend that individuals seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before considering the use of GLP-1 medications for the treatment of obesity or any other condition.

[post_title] => Safely Prescribing GLP-1 Medications for Older Adults: Remote care solutions that offer protection and connection [post_excerpt] => Remote care solutions, like connected devices and remote patient monitoring allow for safer GLP-1 use in older adults. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => safely-prescribing-glp-1-medications-for-older-adults-remote-care-solutions [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-07-16 14:16:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-07-16 14:16:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://withingshealthsolutions.com/?p=1566 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1331 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2024-06-17 15:43:50 [post_date_gmt] => 2024-06-17 15:43:50 [post_content] =>

When the world’s leading clinicians and researchers gather later this month in Orlando, Florida at ADA’s 84th Scientific Sessions, diabetic peripheral neuropathy and diabetic foot ulcer prevention will be spotlighted. Withings devices have been used in a number of major neuropathy and DFU prevention studies being presented at ADA’s Scientific Sessions as well as other diabetes and neurology conferences this year.

 

Of note at Scientific Sessions will be the release of findings of the longitudinal study “Combined DPNCheck and SUDOSCAN as a Screening Tool for DPN—The Sheffield Prospective Study.” The results will be shared at 1:15 p.m. EDT in Room W307 immediately following the ADA President’s Select Abstract Presentation. Mohummad Shaan Goonoo of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and NHS Foundation Trust is scheduled to share the clinical findings.

 

In addition, Philippe Brunswick, Ph.D. will be presenting a poster at Scientific Sessions on Saturday, June 22 at 12:30 pm in Poster Hall West A4-B2 entitled “Improving Diabetic Foot Ulcer Management with Electrochemical Skin Conductance [Board No. 1803].” Attendees are invited to join Philippe and discuss the results and implications in a small-group setting.

 

Finally, Withings will be hosting a breakfast for diabetes influencers at 7:00 am EDT on Saturday, June 22 at the Hyatt Regency Orlando hotel next door to the convention center. Participants will be able to dig deeper on the breaking research that will have been presented as well as to experience the Body Pro 2 smart scale for the first time. If you are interested in attending the breakfast, please find more information here.

Interested in partnering with us?

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Withings remote patient monitoring devices will be used by The Strelitz Diabetes Center at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) in a multi-year ADA-funded study to investigate the efficacy of a culturally-sensitive nutrition program to prevent Type 2 diabetes in African Americans. We interviewed Dr. Henri Parson (EVMS) who is leading the clinical trial, and her co-investigator Ann-Marie Stephens, co-founder of WelFore Health, who is developing the nutritional program and accompanying app, to learn more. 

 

It is well established that the African American population is disproportionately affected by diabetes. The Office of Minority Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services reports that African Americans are: 

 

  • 60% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes (1)
  • 2.5 times more likely to be hospitalized with long-term diabetes (2) complications.
  • Twice as likely to die from diabetes as Non-Hispanic Whites (3) 

The EVMS study will follow 160-180 African American adults who are pre-diabetic or at risk of developing diabetes over the course of 48 weeks. Participants will be brought into the center for quarterly in-person assessments, but they will also be provided Body Pro 2 smart scales and BPM Connect Pro blood pressure monitors for at home use because as Dr. Parson explains, “In a prospective study, we want to capture all the secondary measures we can and have regular remote monitoring.” 

 

The researchers note that there is a gap in the research when it comes to nutrition education. To address this, the nutrition program will emphasize a “food as medicine” approach and will focus on building empathy, trust, and engagement with participants who often have a distrust of clinical trials. Interventions will include meal plans, cooking lessons, daily nudges, and meetings with nutritionists. It will highlight easy-to-follow advice such as making sure non-starchy vegetables make up half the plate and leveraging the power of portion control. 

 

Because Type 2 diabetes tends to follow an intergenerational cycle, WelFore’s Ann-Marie Stephens explains, “We need to help people learn healthier ways to enjoy their cultural heritage foods so they don’t accept the inevitability of diabetes. That to me is the total end game. You’ve got to break that mental mindset.” Heritage foods are such a binding force in the community so preserving culinary traditions is essential to ensure adherence to the program. 

 

When asked for her key takeaway Dr. Parson says, “Healthcare should not be just what the clinical practice guidelines say. It is much much more complex than that. Treat the person as a whole rather than as a symptom. As my mentor Dr. Aaron Vinik often said, “When you understand diabetes, you understand all of health.”

 

  1. CDC 2022. National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2021. Appendix Table 3. 
  2. National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports. Data Query. 
  3. CDC 2022. National Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 70, No. 7. Table 10. 

Interested in partnering with us?

Contact Us [post_title] => Culturally-Sensitive Nutrition Education Studied for Pre-Diabetic African American Patients [post_excerpt] => Withings remote patient monitoring devices will be used by The Strelitz Diabetes Center at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) and WelFore Health for a multi-year, ADA-funded study. In an interview with Dr. Henri Parson (EVMS) and Ann-Marie Stephens (WelFore), Dr. Parsons states, “If we are able to prevent (diabetes) in a population where it is very prevalent, with the idea of using food as medicine, then it is a huge outcome." [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => culturally-sensitive-nutrition-education-studied-for-pre-diabetic-african-american-patients [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-06-17 18:42:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-06-17 18:42:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://withingshealthsolutions.com/?p=1323 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 3 [current_post] => -1 [before_loop] => 1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1566 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2024-07-16 13:52:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2024-07-16 13:52:03 [post_content] =>

Transforming Obesity Treatment with GLP-1s for Older Adults

A recent survey conducted by Gallup reported that perceived effectiveness of weight loss injections are relatively consistent among younger and middle-aged adults, with 70% of those aged 18 to 49 and 67% of those aged 50 to 64 reporting them as effective or extremely effective. Among adults aged 65 and older, however, reported effectiveness is much lower, at 48%. 

 

Older adults often face more health issues or comorbidities, which can make it challenging for them to lose weight and adhere consistently to their treatment plans. Additionally, healthcare providers may encounter greater difficulties in keeping older adults engaged and motivated throughout their weight loss journey.

 

This age-related disparity points to the need for more tailored treatment plans, closer monitoring of the patient’s day to day health metrics, and additional research to better understand the overall effectiveness of GLP-1 medication to treat obesity in older adults

Mitigating medication risk with remote health tech

One approach to addressing these challenges is the integration of digital care solutions, which can offer greater protection for older patients. By utilizing remote monitoring technologies, healthcare providers can track vital health metrics in real-time, allowing for prompt adjustments to treatment plans as needed. These tools can also facilitate regular communication between patients and providers, ensuring that any concerns or side effects are quickly addressed, thus enhancing the overall effectiveness and safety of the treatment.


With connected health devices that collect patient-generated data on a daily basis, care teams can have more insight into health risks that older patients are more susceptible to when taking GLP-1s:

 

  • Sarcopenia: About a quarter of GLP-1 agonist weight loss results from the loss of muscle and bone, both of which are necessary to protect us as we get older. Although some muscle loss is a natural part of aging, it accelerates while on GLP-1s. Weakened muscles can make everyday activities difficult, and can lead to falls or other injuries. Low muscle mass is also associated with poor health outcomes — researchers found that individuals with diabetes and low muscle mass have a higher risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease.
  • Malnutrition: Although suppression of appetite is a key mechanism of GLP-1 medications, too much appetite control can be dangerous, particularly in older adults who are more prone to having reduced food intake. Studies have found diminished appetite is a common problem for older adults — both those living at home and at care facilities. Early insight into a patient’s weight and body composition can help care teams intervene earlier to promote better appetite and food intake. Low muscle mass further compounds the risk of malnutrition. A study led by the Center for Translational Research in Aging & Longevity at Texas A&M University found that current care approaches for malnutrition often don’t account for the importance of muscle mass restoration. Researchers recognized the challenge of measuring body composition in clinical practice, noting “the need to raise awareness of the importance of screening and managing ‘at risk’ patients so it becomes routine is imperative for change to occur.”
  • Gastrointestinal side effects: Severe gastrointestinal side effects from these medications can result in dehydration, which may increase the likelihood of falls. The most commonly reported side effects include gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and nausea. When dehydration occurs, individuals are more prone to dizziness or fainting, raising the risk of falling. For older adults a fall could be the start of serious health issues and can even lead to a long-term disability. It is essential to ensure that older adults taking weight loss medications can monitor their hydration levels on a daily basis.

Daily monitoring of lean mass, water percentage and bones mass

With the Withings Body Pro 2 cellular scale, patients can weigh in each day at home and their body composition information will transmit to their care team automatically. This scale was designed for maximum ease of use, making it ideal for older patients who may not be tech savvy — there's no technical setup required, and patients can use it even if they don’t have a cell phone or internet service.

 

Daily lean mass, fat mass, water percentage and bone mass metrics provide early insight into which patients are struggling with muscle loss or malnutrition. With this data teams can more quickly identify problems and reach out to those in need. For instance, encouraging patients to increase protein in their diet, drink more water, and do light strength training may help stave off serious health issues. 

Motivating and connecting

According to the Pew Research Center, about 27 percent of American seniors live alone. This puts them at higher risk of social isolation, which can affect their well-being and increase their risk of health problems.
Beyond measuring body composition, the Body Pro 2 scale can deliver motivational messages to patients automatically. These messages might offer encouragement to keep walking regularly, take their readings more consistently, remind them of upcoming appointments or congratulate them for reaching a personal health goal.

Prioritizing a personalized approach

Safely prescribing GLP-1 medications for older adults requires a multifaceted approach that combines the integration of connected health devices, closer monitoring of patient body composition, and consistent patient motivation.

 

These technologies not only enhance the safety and effectiveness of weight loss treatments but also provide motivational support to help older patients stay engaged and connected. By addressing the unique challenges faced by older adults, healthcare providers improve the success of their program.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is informational and for content marketing purposes only. It should not be construed as medical advice. The content herein is not intended to replace professional medical consultation, diagnosis, or treatment. We expressly recommend that individuals seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before considering the use of GLP-1 medications for the treatment of obesity or any other condition.

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