Dubai healthcare firm Aster DM to monitor diabetes online

Aster DM has launched a cloud-based technology that allows patients to manage dia­betes and hypertension from home as lifestyle diseases prove beneficial to healthcare companies.

After a four-month pilot study involving 100 patients, the Dubai healthcare company launched two mobile applications that patients can use to input their sugar and blood pressure readings from home. The information goes to Aster DM’s health data management centre and in case of any fluctuations in the readings, the patient gets a call from the physician.

Patients can sign up for the programme for Dh999 a year, which includes blood glucose and blood pressure monitoring devices.

The apps, iFora Diabetes Manager and iFora BP, are free to download and available on Android and iOS.

The home-monitoring programme is not covered through insurance, said Alisha Moopen, the executive director and chief executive for hospitals and clinics in the Arabian Gulf region at Aster DM.

The company expects to enrol about 2,000 patients in the programme within six months.

“You see these lifestyle diseases across the board, among locals as well as expats and in more and more younger ­people,” Ms Moopen said.

Diabetes and hypertension can be inherited, but are also side-effects of a sedentary lifestyle and a high-calorie diet.

Of the UAE’s 7.4 million population, about 1 million people in the 20 to 79-year-old group had diabetes last year, according to the Brussels-based advocacy group International Diabetes Federation.

While countrywide data for hypertension is not available, in Dubai alone 3.5 per cent of the population suffers from hypertension, according to the Dubai Healthcare Authority (DHA).

The high prevalence of diabetes in the UAE poses a burgeoning disease management segment for healthcare companies.

This week, Ras Al Khaimah-based pharmaceutical manufacturer Julphar launched two new medications in the UAE for the management of type 2 diabetes. Julphar will supply these medications as part of its deal with the US pharma company Merck Sharp & Dohme.

Its plant in Ras Al Khaimah has the capacity to manufacture 40 million vials of insulin a year.

In December, it launched a real-time continuous glucose level monitoring device in the UAE.

AsterDM is also working on electronic dispensing of medications and online consultation with its physicians that would enable patients access care from home. Both the digital platforms are currently awaiting licensing approval from DHA.

The Dubai company expects to float an initial public offering on the Bombay Stock Exchange in the next six to 12 months, Ms Moopen said.

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