How LifeInControl is helping diabetic patients actually take control of their lives

21st Jul 2017
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The LifeInControl app, available for Android and iOS platforms, is designed to connect doctors and patients to help patients better manage their glycemic status in collaboration with their doctors and maintain a healthy lifestyle

Sulochana Devi, a 45-year-old mother of two and a wealth management consultant, has a packed schedule. Apart from managing two young children, she has several meetings and engagements every day. The fact that she’s diabetic means she needs to have a controlled diet, take her medicines on time and get at least an hour of exercise.

India is one of the top three countries with a diabetic population, according to a Lancet Study. According to International Journal of Diabetes in Developing Countries, India has been witnessing an alarming rise in incidences of diabetes. And yet patient compliance levels for diabetes remain significantly low.

Enter LifeInControl, a revolutionary diabetes management program that seamlessly connects doctors with patients and allows them to have a greater control over a patient’s glycemic status and urge them to maintain a healthier lifestyle. The app is available for Android and iOS platforms.

The beginning

LifeInControl was founded in 2015 in Gurgaon by 50-year-old Amitabh Nagpal, a Stanford graduate and angel investor. He felt this was a problem that needed an immediate solution and launched LifeInControl. He also received $4.2 million funding from US-based RoundGlass Partners.

Once he had the idea, he happened to meet 26-year-old Partha Sarathi, who was working in the healthcare space.

“He was passionate about this space in diabetes and we clicked immediately. I convinced him to join me. Since then, we have built a 35-member team across Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad,” Amitabh says.

LifeInControl's Hyderabad team.

How does the platform work?

The web and app platform provide the specialist with holistic patient information, alerts, laboratory trends, regular updates with treatment plans, goals and access to patients’ family. The platform allows doctors to create personalised care plans for their patients and also provide patients with consistent day-to-day support and real-time guidance so they can stick to their schedules.

The mobile intervention platform is an easy-to-use app that aids compliance in three ways:

  • Doctors can set up a digital diabetes care plan and design a personalised care programme based on the patient's condition.
  • Patients can use the LifeInControl app to view plan, log details and follow daily tasks.
  • Professional coaches help and guide patients by motivating them to achieve their goals.

On the patient side, the app allows patients to log in details of their blood sugar levels, diet, insulin, medicine dosage and other health data in one location. They can track and measure trends to better understand their condition without the need to document everything on paper.

Amitabh says: “Other features of the app include a calorie counter, glycemic rating checker, nutritional information and a personalised diet plan. Moreover, with constant access to a coach via chat, a patient can allay any doubts s/he has almost instantly.”

LifeInControl's Gurgaon team.

Cracking the market

The team claims that around 60 doctors are using the platform and about 40,000 patients have downloaded the app. Their revenue model is similar to a SaaS-based platform, where they charge the doctors a percentage of their fee. However, LifeInControl refused to share revenue details.

Over the years there has been an increasing need to integrate technology in healthcare and connect people with doctors. There are several healthtech and diagnostic platforms like Sequoia, Practo and 1mg. Tiger Global-backed Lybrate not only connects the doctor to the patient, but also provides healthcare information.

There seems to be a global shift towards preventive care and wellness, and international health-tech players are already penetrating the wearables, bio-devices and fitness spaces. Even technology giant Apple has begun to take note of the growth in the segment.

In India, the preventive care and wellness segment is growing at close to 30 percent year on year, and is currently estimated to be $490 billion.

But Amitabh believes that while there is a digital shift in the healthcare space, there is a lack of awareness among medical practitioners and patients.

“This acts as a big deterrent when it comes to adoption of telehealth methods. For us too, while having an in-house technology team helps in accelerated development, finding doctors who would be willing to join the platform remains a challenge. We address it by building awareness through product demos and showcasing user benefits.”

Comprehensive diabetes care

While there are several healthcare startups, Amitabh says LifeInControl’s biggest strength is the fact that it works to empower patients.

“We allow individuals to independently manage diabetes while helping doctors drive better patient outcomes, which can reduce the emotional and economic burden of diabetes for close to half a million people worldwide,” Amitabh says.

According to a study in American Journal of Managed Care, less than 60 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes take prescribed medications. And less than 50 percent of them achieve recommended glycemic goals, indicating the need for a platform like LifeInControl.

Amitabh says it is critical for diabetes patients to manage their condition well. Not doing so is “quite dangerous as the risk of diabetes-related kidney diseases, strokes, amputation and heart diseases is higher with reduced compliance”.

Data from numerous studies focused on the long-term management of diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, has shown that outcomes improve when patients are engaged and actively participating in their care.

“Over the next few months we will make the care platform more clinically robust with relevant insights, decision support systems and remote intervention modules. We also have plans to launch a companion app that the patient’s family or relatives can use to have transparency in his care and motivate him or her,” Amitabh says.

With India turning into the diabetes capital of the world – as many as 50 million people suffer from type 2 diabetes – we need more apps and programmes like these.

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