Digital chronic disease management startup One Drop has inked a partnership with Withings to provide the wearables company's connected blood pressure cuffs and smart scales to qualifying members.
Alongside One Drop’s own connected glucose meter, these devices will capture up-to-date biometrics data and deliver it directly to an employee or consumer customer’s One Drop app, explained Jeff Dachis, founder and CEO of One Drop.
These readings help inform live coaching delivered through the platform and other predictive analytics-based prompts that aim to spur healthy behavior change among users.
“All those devices integrate directly with the One Drop app experience allowing members to seamlessly measure and monitor their weight, their blood pressure, their glucose, their A1c, their food, their medications and their physical activity,” Dachis told Fierce Healthcare. “By engaging in a partnership like this with Withings, we’re making sure that people have access to holistic, integrated digital solutions that can continuously provide insight into the progress [and] health status of these individuals.”
Withings’ devices have so far been deployed to just a single One Drop employer client—a manufacturing company with more than 1,500 people eligible for the new offering, a representative said. That rollout will continue across its other employer clients over the next few weeks, Dachis said, and make its way to the consumer side of the business by early fall.
After getting started in the diabetes management space back in 2014, One Drop expanded its device and behavior change platform a few years back to address other chronic conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and prediabetes. The company currently covers "hundreds of thousands" of worldwide users and, according to Dachis, saw a 400% increase in revenue growth during the past 12 months.
Withings, meanwhile, is a 13-year-old French wearables and health monitoring device maker that was owned by Nokia from 2016 to 2018 before being repurchased by co-founder Éric Carreel.
Best known for its connected consumer health devices—such as activity trackers designed to resemble traditional analog wristwatches—it launched a B2B division in 2019 that has since released a slew of medical-grade disease management monitors and data hubs for use by providers customers.
For Withings, the latest partnership brings its products into more homes and opens the door for similar deals elsewhere in the healthcare market.
“Back in 2019, [we] started expanding this expertise and our suite of devices to the healthcare industry through our Health Solution division because we believe that the industry needs great user-friendly devices to make telehealth, chronic care management and remote patient monitoring happen,” the company told Fierce Healthcare in an email statement. “We're very excited to be partnering with One Drop—they feel like a natural partner for us, and we see their employer program as a way to meet the needs of employees and address health issues in a proactive approach rather than reactive.”
Technologies with clumsy onboarding or poor user experiences are a danger to health management and coaching services, the French company noted. Particularly when it comes to chronic diseases, programs and connected devices alike need to “integrate seamlessly” into end users’ daily routines.
Per Dachis, this emphasis on user-friendly product design was a key selling point for One Drop as it was looking to partner up with the device maker.
“People who use these types of products will use them more if they like them,” he said. “We really believe the Withings products are excellent and best in class. By delivering [that] to our end users, we are providing ourselves with a competitive advantage both in the employer market and the consumer market.”
The partnership’s other benefit comes down to how One Drop collects and ingests its health data, Dachis said.
The platform is already compatible with “thousands” of health apps and devices, including those from Withings, he said. The majority of these, however, deliver their data by way of “hubs” like Apple Health and Google Fit and as a result have limitations based on types of data those platforms are configured to handle. Apple Health, for instance, didn’t support insulin use or intake for a number of years, Dachis noted.
Going forward, One Drop will be receiving data from Withings’ devices, both directly via Bluetooth and through a cloud-based infrastructure, he said. This allows the company access to the full set of features supported by Withings’ devices and the cloud-based infrastructure.
“We already have some direct API relationships—Fitbit is one example and Dexcom’s continuous glucose monitors is another,” Dachis said. “Those relationships allow us to do a little bit more … than we normally would be able to do with one of the hub models. I’d imagine in the future we will continue to establish [more of] these direct-to-device relationships where appropriate.”
The new partnership shores up One Drop’s business within a crowded sector of the digital health industry.
Much like One Drop, other digital health players like Omada, DarioHealth and Verily-backed Onduo that launched as diabetes management or coaching services have also fleshed out their services to handle more devices and manage more health conditions.
Livongo, among the best known in the space, has been picking up new users thanks to its still-fresh acquisition by telehealth giant Teladoc, while in-person/telehealth hybrid Carbon Health signaled plans to shoulder into device-driven disease management with last month’s acquisition of Steady Health.