Lighthouse received $50,000 for its voice-activated application, designed to  provide more accessible and engaging care for diabetes patients.

The 2017 Hitlab Innovators Summit named Lighthouse as the winner of its World Cup Challenge, which focused on using voice-activated technology to improve healthcare access, delivery, and outcomes. Lighthouse received $50,000 for its voice-activated application, designed to provide more accessible and engaging care for diabetes patients.

“Lighthouse really honed in on an important gap — how can we expand patient support between appointments?” said Amy West, Novo Nordisk’s senior director of patient marketing and digital health innovation, and a judge of the challenge. “The ability to address this issue, coupled with Lighthouse’s seamless integration into the lives of patients, are the core reasons why it was selected as this year’s grand prize winner.” 

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“Lighthouse helps patients close that gap, build great habits, and support their broader care team in delivering the best care,” said Lighthouse CEO Dave Vockell. 

Hitlab received 146 applications from 15 countries this year. Finalists made their pitches to a panel of judges at the three-day event held in New York City.

Judges evaluated their pitches according to the following criteria: impact, innovation, sustainability, and feasibility. Finalists included cloud-based app My Diabetes Coach, developed by Macadamian; virtual nutrition assistant T2D2; nutrition-tracking smart placemat Palette; and Proof, which supports patient/provider relationships.

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Novo Nordisk, which sponsored the Innovators Summit, has yet to determine whether it will partner with any of finalists, said West. “Novo Nordisk will continue its foray into digital health by exploring many different opportunities that align with our business strategy.”

The company does, however, expect to embrace voice technology, according to David Moore, Novo’s commercial SVP. “We think about the fact that everyone will have a smartphone in the not-too-distant future. It’s a disruptive technology,” he said.

In January, Novo Nordisk announced a partnership with diabetes data management platform Glooko. In July, the companies launched Novo Nordisk’s Cornerstones4Care mobile app, which combines Novo Nordisk’s patient support with Glooko’s data analytics expertise. The drugmaker received FDA-approval for once-weekly injection Ozempic Tuesday, and markets diabetes drugs Victoza and Tresiba.

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“For us, it’s just the start,” said Moore. “That’s why we’re here — to be very open and inquisitive to opportunities that may exist for us to collaborate, integrate further in connecting with consumers where they are in their journey, and realizing these are individuals carrying on daily activities with their disease, and to provide them better tools and resources.”

Diabetes is a condition which could greatly benefit from more pharma/tech collaboration, Moore added. “If you’re an employer, you’re looking for more productivity. If you’re a patient, you’re looking for more information and more personalized care. This integration in a digital platform around diabetes has the potential for a large impact.”