EMAILED ON August 9, 2019 BY Conor Grant

Tech giants are racing to build businesses that help manage diabetes

For most of the more than 30m people in the US living with diabetes, managing blood sugar is a process of guesswork that involves regular finger pricks and insulin adjustments.

Now, according to a recent CNBC report, big tech companies — namely Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet — are investing heavily to make those quality continuous treatments more accessible (and capture a big chunk of diabetic business in the process).

Right now, the bar is pretty low

Businesses catering to diabetics have provided an, um, less-than-satisfactory customer experience in recent years: Sellers increased insulin prices as much 353%, and continuous monitoring devices have remained prohibitively expensive. 

Things have gotten bad: Diabetics are stockpiling medicine, crossing borders to find cheaper insulin, and switching to cheaper generic alternatives (sometimes with tragic results).

Several different approaches to ‘diabetes tech’ want to fix things 

Apple is focused on building tools in its Watch and iPhone to integrate with diabetic devices and provide more seamless monitoring.

Amazon is programming Alexa-enabled devices to help diabetics verbally check their blood sugar levels. 

Alphabet, through its life science subsidiary Verily, is actually developing new hardware to continuously monitor blood sugar levels.