decorational arrow Lifestyle   decorational arrow Type 2 diabetes | 2 min. read

“Smarter” digital solutions? Forget about it!

Who wants to be healthier?

Who would like to discover calorie free ice cream? [Ahem, I’ll raise my hand here]

And who wants to spend their day navigating 10 different apps, weighing their food and tracking their exercise? [silence…]

The hope and promise of digital health solutions belongs to everyone but the way we think about it needs to change.

Today, the solution to managing a disease or improving health is generally to do more. Count more calories, watch your carbs, download an app, take your medicine, go to the gym, jump on a bike, and don’t forget to manage your career, check on your parents, spend time with your family, invest in savings, walk the dog…

We are expected to do more, but the power of digital health is in the promise of less.

Diabetes can be a constant and unpredictable juggling act: managing medicine and writing down or “logging” every dose, then monitoring blood sugar, watching diet and exercise. Doctors and nurses are meant to help and guide, but they often lack reliable, accurate information.

Smart insulin pens are one way we can reduce the day-to-day hassle. By automatically recording how much insulin someone has taken and when, people with diabetes have one less thing to do. Manual “log books” are replaced with accurate, reliable information. It may sound simple, but the impact is significant. Our type 1 study in Sweden showed that smart insulin pens could improve time in the normal blood sugar range by up to two hours. And rumour has it, people did not miss “logging” their data either…

But this is only the beginning. When it comes to health, the situation is urgent. Far more than a gadget that we’ll forget about next month, digital solutions are needed to help shape and improve society by giving everyone a healthier and happier life now. But the true great opportunity is to think differently about what we are asking of people – ask less and get more. 

And hopefully, calorie-free ice cream one day too.

By Kristen Gail Andersen, Global Communication Lead in Digital Health, Novo Nordisk

  1. Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Type 1 diabetes facts and figures. Available at: - Last accessed: July 2019.

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