The recent rise of diabetes in India has been called an epidemic. Over 69 million cases of the disease were reported in India in 2015—a number expected to further increase in coming years, due in part to the population’s high obesity rates.
Jana Care, a high-growth startup in Bangalore, India, recognized the critical value of preventative care in combatting Type 2 diabetes. The founders also knew that, while most of India’s large and growing middle class still lacked access to traditional healthcare, they had something else in their pockets with the potential to help: smartphones.
Continuum partnered with Jana Care to develop a low-cost blood glucometer that could capture glucose readings and transfer this data using any smartphone device. A new player in the large market of diabetes management, Jana Care’s solution had to be affordable and easy to distribute in developing countries, while also accurate and compatible with current test strip technology.
Research & Insights
Research & Insights
Color Sensing ≠ Imaging
The client originally envisioned using the smartphone’s camera function to capture and process glucose readings. This presented lifecycle and interface challenges, however, as the platform would require modification anytime a new smartphone, and its corresponding camera drivers and peculiarities, hit the market. Knowing the device needed only to read color from test strips, our engineers advised a simpler, more sustainable alternative using low-cost color-sensing technology incorporated within the device. Thanks to the reduced data bandwidth required, our client was able to reframe the device concept to leverage the audio jack connection instead.
Our team developed Jana Care’s Aina Device, a blood glucometer that uses existing colorimetric test strips and plugs into any smartphone via the headphone jack. Blood readings were communicated to an accompanying mobile app, which allowed pre-diabetic users to monitor consistently their glucose levels as well as weight, food intake, and physical activity. The app also linked to an online coaching and support system called the Habits Program, thus offering a holistic preventative care solution. By coupling accessible and affordable diagnostics with clinically proven coaching methodologies, Jana Care created a high-value system focused on clinical outcomes.
The Aina device is clinically validated to ISO 15197 accuracy standards in support of FDA and CE approvals. It also offers the client a platform technology that can be expanded to measure A1c, lipids, and creatinine.
Aina was released in March 2015 and has seen success. As of November 2015, providers across India have screened over 3,600 people since the device’s launch. 44% of these patients have seen significant reduction in their pre-meal glucose and 31% report the same reduction post-meal, after they have been prescribed the Habits Program post-diagnosis.