At first glance, the app appears to be particularly useful for pediatric diabetics who are still getting used to regularly checking their blood glucose levels, allowing them to receive support and encouragement from those closest to them while easing the burden of the disease on their day-to-day activities and lifestyle.
“The daily support and understanding people living with diabetes receive from their social circle can make a significant difference in how effectively they manage the disease,” said Joseph Madden, president and CEO of Vmersion-Health. “Gluco-Share harnesses technology already available on a smart device –data input, chat, text, notifications and badges- to create a private, secure, and fun supportive social network.”
There are three core elements of the Gluco-Share app, each of which the company describes with one word: Check, Share, and Reward.
- CHECK: The app sends users regular reminders to check blood sugar levels and provides data fields for glucose values, med units, and personal comments, as well as automatically recording the time and date of each check.
- SHARE: Each time a user checks their blood glucose, the app communicates data and alerts in real-time to individuals within the diabetics social circle of parents, family and friends, allowing them to participate in the user’s glucose checks. A chat function allows family and friends to offer supportive comments or just simply say ‘hi’ and keep in touch. Importantly, only the data users choose to share is sent to their social network, with everything not explicitly selected to be shared kept private.
- REWARD: The app features a ‘Challenge’ system that rewards frequent checking and provides fun and educational games that encourage interplay among Gluco-Share members.
It was this last element, which is essentially a ‘gamification’ of the blood glucose checking process, that led me to think this app is really most useful for pediatric diabetics. As it turns out, it was the relationship between Vmersion-Health CEO Joseph Madden and his diabetic son that seems to have been the core motivation behind the development of Gluco-Share.
I had a chance to speak with Madden about his experiences with his son and found his story very compelling. If there is one thing you can count on its that a parent will go to the ends of the Earth to care for their child, and in the mobile age I am not surprised that a father like Joe would find a way to use a smartphone to stay connected to and engaged in helping to manage his son’s condition 24/7.
“As a parent of a Type 1 child, I understand the importance –and frustration- of ensuring that my child has checked his blood sugar,” said Madden. “Gluco-Share is the first app that has a reward system based on the frequency of checking one’s blood sugar, not just the numeric value. I can say from my own experience that using the app has improved the quality of my communication and my relationship with my child.”
The app is currently only available for use on iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, but Vmersion-Health has plans to launch both an updated website designed specifically for use on mobile devices, as well as an Android-compatible version of the app in the near future.
Check out the video tutorial for the app below.