Digital Health C-Suite Series: Biolinq CEO Rich Yang on how connected devices can help drive sustainable behavior changes

Csuite Rich Yang

We had the pleasure of speaking with Biolinq CEO Rich Yang during the annual JP Morgan healthcare conference about developing the world’s first sensor to detect glucose levels in the skin, supporting sustainable behavior changes and the challenge of developing a digital platform. Here’s a recap of the discussion. Watch the video, or read on for a recap.

Developing the world’s first skin-based glucose sensor

Biolinq spent a decade creating one of the smallest electrochemical sensors ever developed and incorporating it into a first-of-its-kind wearable device that continuously detects glucose in the reticular dermis—the bottom layer of the skin.

Tracking glucose levels is one of the main challenges facing diabetic patients. “You have to take a finger stick, draw blood, get a number and then manage your diabetes based on occasional episodic readings.” Biolinq’s wearable, an investigational device, provides real-time biofeedback, alerting patients when their glucose level rises too high or falls too low, and—crucially—when it’s in a healthy target range.

The system also tracks activity levels and sleep, providing context to the patient’s metabolic health. “We give you context, all in one disposable, so you don't have to go and find other sources of information with other devices and combine them all on the back end. It's all here in one disposable device.”

The Biolinq solution is designed to be the simplest form of sensing for consumers , prescribers and payers, requiring little training to get up and running. “We're architecting this product to be the most ubiquitous plug-and-play bio-wearable.”

Helping to drive sustainable behavior changes

“Our priority in designing this product is to bring a new user experience to people living with diabetes.” The Biolinq sensor is designed to be highly engaging, employing color schema, LED lights and other design elements to keep patients involved. Coupled with real-time biofeedback, that helps support sustainable behavior change, via cognitive restructuring and positive reinforcement. “If I drink that heavy glass of orange juice and my glucose levels skyrocket, there's no other way for me to know that cause and effect unless I'm taking a finger stick, checking my blood glucose or wearing a continuous sensor.”

Overcoming the challenges of creating a digital ecosystem

One of the company’s biggest challenges is developing its underlying digital health platform or infrastructure. Because of the scale and expense of building a digital health ecosystem from the ground up, with robust privacy, security and compliance for the global marketplace, Biolinq understands the importance of partnering with a platform provider such as BrightInsight.

“The digital aspect of things is very challenging for companies at our stage, in terms of resource constraints and technical talent to build it out from scratch. That digital health ecosystem is important to us. It's how we will provide value to the end user over time, but it's also a critical path that we can't ignore, and we don't have the ability to build on our own from the ground up.”

Working with a platform partner will allow the Biolinq team to focus on what they do best. “We spend our time architecting and building biosensors that work well, to provide a new user experience, and building our digital ecosystem on a platform that already exists that we can build on top of.”

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