Onduo is joining forces with Sword Health in a partnership designed to expand virtual care for people with diabetes and other chronic conditions. An Alphabet sister company of Google, Onduo by Verily focuses on digital therapeutics (DTx) for conditions including diabetes and hypertension, and also has a mental health component. Sword Health is primarily a digital musculoskeletal (MSK) care provider. Now they’ll each offer complementary solutions to the other’s corporate customers.
The pairing makes good sense; according to Onduo, studies show that between 47% and 82% of people living with type 2 diabetes experience significant MSK pain. Sword Health Chief Medical Officer Vijay Yanamadal says “Helping individuals eliminate their MSK pain creates a positive ripple effect, reducing medication dependence, avoiding unnecessary surgeries, and improving quality of life by helping employers offer multiple and complementary solutions in the market, We reduce the burden on their benefits teams.”
What do members get with Sword Health? Patients are paired with a physical therapist who designs a tailor-made program that uses a Sword tablet along with motion sensors, enabling real-time feedback from a Digital Therapist as patients perform their exercises. Sword Health says their program, according to a study, reduces pain by 55%, lowers shoulder-related disabilities by 52%, and diminishes the intention to pursue surgery by 55%.
With Onduo, diabetes sufferers get a customized kit with integrated devices that includes a blood glucose meter, an at-home A1C kit, and an unlimited number of test strips. Onduo members with hypertension can get a smartphone-connected blood pressure cuff. All members are supported by an app that reviews, analyzes, and evaluates health data, offering connection to healthcare professionals on Onduo’s Care Team, and access to specialty care via a Virtual Clinic.
While partnerships between digital health platforms are increasingly common — and so this latest union is not big news by itself — the wider acceptance of remote health services it represents is notable. This acceptance is especially true when it comes to managing chronic conditions. Research published by the American Medical Association’s JAMA Network Open earlier this year found that in a study of 40.7 million U.S. adults who sought care through telehealth, the consensus among those with chronic conditions was that virtual care is comparable to in-person visits.