man in suit and tie with tiny icons coming down on his hand with a light

It may not be your typical hero-sidekick relationship, but I couldn’t help but think of Batman and Robin upon reading about Medtronic and IBM’s announcement of their research into developing an app that will help improve the lives of diabetic patients through predictive analytics.

It’s not hard to see that technology is changing the nature and quality of healthcare systems left, right, and centre. From apps that link to wearable devices to track various activity-related statistics, to those that remind patients when to take their medications, to those that connect patients to doctors and specialists through video chats and those that enable physicians to communicate with their colleagues in other parts of the world who may be dealing with the same or similar rare illnesses, there is no shortage of healthcare-related technologies. In many cases, these apps are created to try to streamline healthcare processes and make life easier for both patients and physicians. Or, in my imagination, they are built to be virtual sidekicks for these individuals as they work towards combatting illness and disease, as well as improving quality of life.

The unique partnership between IBM’s cognitive computing capabilities and Medtronic’s existing diabetes management solutions showcases the potential of a virtual sidekick for improving the lives of diabetes patients. Managing this illness involves a lot of high-stakes individual monitoring on the patient’s part to ensure that one’s glucose levels don’t fall too low. This is why these companies’ research concept is a powerful one—Medtronic already provides several devices to support diabetes patients in their treatment, but IBM’s technology’s potential to provide patients with more information and more warning of hypoglycemic events could give patients a constant sidekick that is looking out for them.

We’ve seen a lot of development in the diabetes care market over the past year, as evidenced in my colleague Manya Aggarwal’s recent report and blog on this subject matter, and it looks like this expansion of possibilities for diabetes patients will continue to occur in coming years. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing how Medtronic and IBM are able to continue the trend of building virtual sidekicks that maximize quality of life for their users.

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