Commentary: Can Wearables be the Future for Diabetes?

Credit: Pixabay
Credit: Pixabay

In 2014, diabetes took 4.9 million lives worldwide – that’s a staggering one death every seven seconds. Globally, 350 million people suffer from diabetes and this is likely to double in the next 20 years. Of this, the incidence of Type 2 diabetes– makes up 90% of diabetes patients. Here in Singapore, IDF reports suggest that diabetes prevalence for those aged between 18 and 69 is at 11.3%, or around one in 10 people – Singapore has the second highest proportion of diabetics among developed nations.

Part of the solution is to create a digital infrastructure that helps provide better patient outcomes and, in turn, supports the overall healthcare system. The technology that can deliver on this is already here – wearables. Medical-grade wearables, specifically designed for patients with conditions like diabetes, are driving up adoption of this device class. Three key use-cases emerging quite powerfully include prevention and early warning, improved treatments through better understanding of patient behavior, and integration with existing telemedicine systems to provide streamlined monitoring and treatment adjustments.

The rise of connected care technologies can impact and help the challenge that the region is facing. So the question here is, can wearables be the future of diabetes? Technology may be the answer as it has the potential to decrease healthcare costs by 40%. This is especially important for Singapore, where Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat mentioned during the Budget 2016 announcements that our healthcare spending has increased almost six-fold to $11 billion in a decade. We need to have a focused ‘eye’ on diabetes – we need work together and integrate our healthcare systems with the power of technology and connected care to start addressing these challenges.

In a white paper SAP released in September looking at the evolution of wearables, we found that about one-third of those surveyed believe patients are driving the adoption of health wearables. That’s telling because it lays bare the extent to which the medical sector must play a role in paving the way for mass adoption this device class – and the potential health benefits they offer on a global scale.

An example would be the Accu-Checkview. SAP and Roche are working together to effectively combat diabetes through the use of technology and connected care. By combining a blood glucose monitor, a wearable fitness tracker, and an app, doctors can provide personalised and preventative treatment for Type-2 diabetes. The technology helps transform patient care, keeps the disease in check, and also brings about savings in time and money for both patient and healthcare institutions. Such connected care can also be replicated for other diseases, translating to huge potential for the healthcare industry. Accu-Checkview is an innovative solution that transforms the care of diabetes, and looking at the example of this globally, it can be the answer to help alleviate the burden diabetics and healthcare systems face here in Singapore.

Andy David 1This article is an opinion piece by Andy David, Director, Healthcare, SAP. Andy David is responsible for growing the SAP brand in healthcare covering Public and Private Hospitals and associated healthcare organizations in Asia Pacific and Japan. He is responsible for defining, leading and driving the execution of the industry strategy through Market Analysis, Go to Market Campaigns, Business Development, Partner Enablement and Thought Leadership. He promotes product innovations and customer co-innovations and feeds the view from APJ into the Product Development and localisations. Process. His key mandate is to focus as customer advocate, helping healthcare organisations in APJ achieve greater operational and financial excellence, optimise resources and processes, improve patient outcomes, while effectively managing risks, thus achieving policy and business outcomes and supporting customers to realise the value from their investment in SAP. Before to joining SAP, Andy led the Healthcare and Life Sciences Industry team for APJ for Oracle Corporation and with 11 years in sales covering Healthcare, Public Sector and Manufacturing. 

Previous articleHow to recognise a stroke and what you should know about their treatment
Next article[Event] Launch of BES Healthcare Chapter and A Seminar About Driving Excellence in Healthcare
Scientist-entrepreneur-manager-journalist: -Co-founder, Author; Former Assistant Editor and Director, Biotechin.Asia, Biotech Media Pte. Ltd.; -Founder & CEO, SciGlo (; -Programme Management Officer, SBIC, A*STAR (former Research Fellow). --Sandhya graduated from University of Madras, India (B.Sc Microbiology and M.Sc Biotechnology) and received her Ph.D from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She worked on oxidative stress in skin, skeletal, adipose tissue and cardiac muscle for a decade from 2006-2016. She is currently working as a Programme Management Officer handling projects and grants at Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Earlier to this she was a Research Fellow in the Fat Metabolism and Stem Cell Group at SBIC. Sandhya was also the Vice President and Publicity Chair of A*PECSS (A*STAR Post Doc Society) (2014-2016). Recently she founded a platform for scientists - SciGlo ( and is a startup mentor at Vertical VC (Finland). She is an ardent lover of science and enjoys globe trotting and good vegetarian food.