July 7, 2023

Health2Sync Founder Ed Deng wants to solve the problems around chronic disease management

United Nations data shows that approximately 500 million people worldwide are diagnosed with diabetes every five seconds, with an estimated 643 million patients by 2030. The disease is seen as a silent killer, often going unnoticed until it’s too late. It can also lead to complications such as heart disease, kidney disease, retinopathy, skin disorders, vascular and neurological disorders, and foot ulcers, gradually robbing individuals of their health and quality of life.

For Health2Sync Founder Ed Deng, keeping diabetes patients with other chronic diseases alive is not enough. He wants them to experience the fullest and highest quality lives possible.

Though not a patient himself, Ed has an incredibly personal connection to diabetes and the suffering associated with it.     

“Lots of people in my family have diabetes, and several older relatives have died from it,” Ed shares. “Most of the men in my family are doctors, and even they couldn’t solve the problem.”   

According to Ed, a huge part of the disease’s impact relates to the intensive daily work of monitoring glucose levels. But not every diabetes patient can measure their blood sugar consistently, and many lack the needed family support to do so.

“With proper dosage control, blood sugar can stay within the target range, reducing the risk of complications such as stroke, heart disease, and blindness,” says Ed. “My grandmother’s glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) level is lower than my younger brother’s because she diligently records her blood pressure and blood sugar levels every day, with the support of family members who constantly supervise her diet. Only with complete data and family support can the disease be stabilized. But if doctors are provided with inconsistent data, they are hesitant to adjust insulin dosages.”     

“Action is data-driven”: a tech solution to diabetes management 

It became clear to Ed that only a technological, data-based solution could solve the diabetes management problem.

“Action is data-driven,” he says. “Chronic disease management is essentially behavior management, and with tools that can effectively digitize and automate this process, health outcomes can be significantly improved.”

In 2013, Ed launched Health2Sync in his home country of Taiwan.   

“Action is data-driven. Chronic disease management is essentially behavior management, and with tools that can effectively digitize and automate this process, health outcomes can be significantly improved.”

According to Ed, Health2Sync functions as more of an IoT-based diabetes care platform rather than a simple app. By connecting with commercially available devices such as glucose meters, blood pressure monitors, scales, and insulin pens, the Health2Sync App can integrate various data like blood sugar, blood pressure, weight, diet, exercise, and medication usage.

The app then uses personalized charts to compare pre-meal and post-meal blood sugar values, allowing patients to have a clear, single-pane overview of their condition. Users also receive real-time reminders and informative push notifications. Another significant benefit is that users can review historical data, enabling them to communicate more clearly with their doctors during follow-up visits.

The platform also has tremendous utility for hospitals and care teams, who can monitor the patient’s condition in real-time through authorized data sharing, allowing them to provide precise recommendations for adjusting insulin and oral medication dosage.

Asia’s largest chronic disease platform levels up with biotech giant Abbott

After nearly 10 years, Health2Sync App currently has over 1 million registered users worldwide and collaborates with more than 400 medical institutions and partners, making it the largest chronic disease management platform in Asia.

To top that milestone off, the startup recently leveled up their offerings by teaming with Abbott to integrate the biotech giant’s CGM (continuous glucose monitoring) into their app. CGM technology greatly reduces the number of finger pricks for diabetes patients. 

Holding up a wireless, coin-sized sensor, Ed explains the benefits of CGM:  “The sensor goes under the patient’s skin to measure blood sugar continuously for 24 hours. Our API integration with Abbott allows us to see the correlation between blood sugar, exercise, and diet.”

Health2Sync is Abbott’s first partner in Asia for CGM, a partnership that was not easy to come by, explains Ed. 

“It took us nearly 3 years to negotiate with Abbott. We’re confident that we can bring a better experience to Abbott, improving user satisfaction and product experience.”

Standing at ground zero in a healthcare industry primed for disruption 

After a decade of entrepreneurship, Deng candidly admits that although they are already helping diabetes patients globally, they have yet to achieve their initial goal.

“What we truly want to solve is the prevention and management of chronic diseases, and we are still working hard towards that.”

Ed also foresees new services emerging from CGM for groups looking to better understand their metabolism such as triathletes, individuals seeking weight loss, and fitness enthusiasts, all the next target audiences for the startup. 

“What we truly want to solve is the prevention and management of chronic diseases, and we are still working hard towards that.”

Ed sees the healthtech market as primed for disruption. That’s why when he’s not leading Health2Sync, Ed works with the Verge HealthTech Fund – which he co-founded – the world’s first global scale, early stage VC fund for healthtech companies.

“The future of healthtech is arriving right now,” Ed says.

Currently launched in Taiwan, the Health2Sync App is also available for users in Hong Kong and Singapore. Combining previous users in Japan, the app is poised to help over 850,000 diabetes patients.

Key Takeaways:

  • Diabetes management can be incredibly challenging, which is what prompted Ed to find a technological solution. 
  • Health2Sync is an IoT-based diabetes care platform that integrates patient data from various sources and provides real-time notifications for both patient and care providers. 
  • The startup’s new cooperation with Abbott will extend the app’s offerings to include CGM. 
  • Ed views the healthtech market as poised for huge innovation and opportunities.

This article has been contributed to AsiaTechDaily.

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