Data and Diabnext

WRITTEN BY: Katie Doyle

Blood sugar checks and CGM patterns. Injectionswhen exactly did I take that shot? Counting carbs vs. actually eating them. The sheer quantity of information surrounding diabetes can be overwhelming. Have you ever felt like it’s impossible to keep track of it all?

Diabnext offers a solution to data management that can relieve some of the burden and make better use of collected information, advancing diabetes self-care technology further into our digital future.

Beyond Type 1 caught up with the Diabnext team, including co-founder and CEO Laurent Nicolas and Business Development Manager Raphaelle Mourey to find out how this start-up is creating new options for people to live better lives with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

The Mental Burden

As anyone who’s ever checked their blood sugar knows, finding out what we don’t know can actually help when it comes to making diabetes decisions. For instance, those of us who use multiple daily injections (MDIs) instead of an insulin pump don’t have access to the automatic data that gets stored in our pumps and can later be uploaded during visits to the endocrinologist, like bolus amounts and delivery times. And even if we are already keeping track of all of that information, it can add more steps to the taxing full-time job (as our friend Robin Arzon called it!) that is diabetes.

“Handling this disease has been complex and time consuming, so I was really happy to see the rise of digital solutions dedicated to facilitating self-management of diabetes,” said Laurent, who was diagnosed with Type 1 in 2006. “I tried them all, but even if I wanted to be compliant with it, I always ended up dropping out after a few days.”

Why? According to Laurent, he was recording all of his diabetes information, which added up to 100 pieces of data per week. “That’s when I realized that in order to do personalized care, you needed a complete and automated set of data, which would relieve the patient from this burden and help professionals to monitor them.”

Solutions and Security

“MDI users never have access to this data,” Raphaelle said. “It’s a huge portion of people using insulin and the idea was to provide a solution for them that was not that expensive and that didn’t require them to switch to pumps if they did not want to.”

So Diabnext developed two devices: Gluconext, a small device that clips onto meters, and Clipsulin, which plugs onto insulin pens. Customers can choose to use one or both tools, which supply data to the corresponding Diabnext mobile app. Users pay a one-time fee for the hardware and then purchase an ongoing subscription to the app. The hardware is ready, Raphaelle told us, and the completed software is scheduled to launch commercially around July of this year.

In addition to helping look at diabetes data over time to examine patterns, Diabnext is also working toward an automated data log that optimizes artificial intelligence (A.I.) technology using open source recognition software. Need a translation? Try this:

Imagine ordering a burger, pasta dish, or double fudge chocolate chunk brownie. Next, picture taking out your phone and capturing a quick photo of what you’re about to eat. The Snapcarbs function of Diabnext compares your food to a photo in its A.I. system and does a quick analysis to tell you how many carbs are in it. Snapcarbs then records your estimated carb counts along with your BG levels and insulin injections for a well-rounded (and entirely automated!) look at your diabetes management. Sounds pretty amazing, if you ask us!

An A.I.-based system, which is planned for release in 2020, will include recommendations for insulin dosing based on the Snapcarbs analysis. The technology will also share data with the users’ diabetes care team and provide daily support based on what’s collected in order to improve outcomes for each customer.

“The average HbA1c reduction of such solutions is an improvement of 0.4%, which reduces the risk of long term complications,” Laurent said about the effects of using the data management system. “We believe Diabnext can show even better results since the automation of data collection ensures greater engagement and retention.”

In case you’re worried about the security of your information, Laurent also sought to reassure members of the diabetes community who might have concerns about their personal information being collected: “Protecting patient personal health information is essential for Diabnext. We are in the process of being compliant with the HIPAA requirements (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), notably by hiring key people specialized in data protection and data privacy.”

Looking Ahead

The idea driving Diabnext’s future lies in providing an affordable solution that doesn’t require MDI users to switch to insulin pumps if they are happy with taking injections. While in the short-term Diabnext benefits those on MDIs, the company plans to be compatible with pumps and CGMs in the future in order to make life better for all people who are insulin-dependent.

“We do not require patients to change their habits, so they can use Diabnext regardless of their treatment,” said Raphaelle. After all, access to more data means people can “make better decisions based on historical data, based on insulin [needs] blood glucose, and activity level.”

Laurent also sees value in offering connections to the diabetes community with Diabnext. The community element will provide resources like chatting with diabetes educators and location services to locate people with diabetes nearby. Users can discuss goal-setting, negotiating challenges like travel and exercise, and avoiding complications — which is something that motivates Laurent to stay on top of his diabetes care.

“My biggest motivator for taking care of my diabetes is that I am eager to stay healthy. Hypo– and hyperglycemia are very tiring and affect my mood and my performance at work. All in all, my motivation is to have a good glycemic control to have a healthy life, not a life of a sick person.”

Visit the Diabnext website to find out more!

Katie Doyle

Katie Doyle is a writer and videographer who chronicles her travels and diabetes (mis)adventures from wherever she happens to be. She’s written about dropping her meter off of a chairlift in the Alps, wearing her pump while teaching swim lessons on Cape Cod, and the many road trips and fishing expeditions in between. Check out for more.