Sanofi launches iPhone glucose monitor, diabetes coaching

Sanofi seems to be listening to the woe-is-pharma's-business-model talk from industry experts. As consultants and management gurus urge drugmakers to shift away from simply selling drugs--and toward a broader, health-outcomes approach--the French company ($SNY) has launched a blood-sugar monitor that comes with data analysis and patient counseling services.

Not only that, the new monitor hooks into the mobile world: It's an attachment for iPhones and iPads. The iBGStar is a one-inch-wide version of Sanofi Canada's BGStar standalone monitor. It plugs into the Apple gadgets, and delivers results via an app that tracks and graphs blood-sugar levels, and can collect relevant information about carb consumption, exercise and insulin doses. Patients can check out interactive reports and email the whole shebang to their doctors.

Today, Sanofi is launching an accompanying website, StarSystem, that offers the usual educational articles and videos found online, but also provides health coaching for patients using the company's glucose monitors. There's 90 minutes of telephone counseling, plus 6 months of online coaching. The idea is for patients to come up with a plan for diet, exercise, and so on, and to track their activities over time.

Sounds a lot like the approach Ernst & Young has been exhorting pharma to adopt. Companies need to be more "patient-centric" rather than product-centric, using technology to "build enduring relationships with their customers," the firm says. And just this week, a Forbes column urged pharma to refocus on health outcomes rather than on tracking down elusive new blockbusters, much like IBM did when it remade itself.

- read the Forbes article
- see the Words by Nowak post