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Imagine you are traveling to a new destination. In today’s world, it’s easy — jump in the car, plug your destination into the GPS, and go. You feel secure because this tool gives you real-time progress updates, helps if you make a wrong turn, and redirects you if traffic hazards emerge.

What if we could do the same for navigating chronic illnesses?

Believe it or not, we’re getting closer. In recent years, technology has intersected with medicine, allowing treatments to fit more intelligently into people’s routines, support adherence, and guide people to success. The industry is rising to the occasion, producing digital solutions that aim to help improve health outcomes. These solutions share common objectives: to enable the collection of population health data, help physicians offer more comprehensive, informed care, and empower people to better manage their own health.

One area that industry innovators have focused on is chronic illness, which can create a burden for the physician community. It can also be difficult for patients, who often must keep up with rigorous treatment requirements. Chronic illness can also lead to high costs for payers and employers, especially if outcomes are not optimal. Observing these challenges, innovators have taken on developing connected solutions for chronic disease management. The goals? To reduce many physician and patient burdens, improve patient engagement, allow physicians to focus on the most important clinical decisions and ultimately help improve outcomes for patients.

A number of organizations and companies are pursuing connected solutions for chronic diseases. Temple University’s Temple Lung Center developed an app to help people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) manage their symptoms and treatment. Rush University’s Medical Center and Proteus Health developed a technology-enabled pill with a small ingestible sensor that transmits health data to a mobile device. The pill alerts a patient if they forgot to take their medication, helping them adhere to their treatment plans.

These advances, and others like them, have changed how we approach chronic illness. Now it’s not just about developing effective medicines; development is more integrated, encompassing both product and delivery from the outset, with the goal of giving people the best chance of improved outcomes. That said, despite tremendous advancements, many chronic diseases still lack truly connected devices to support people through their treatment journey. One such area is diabetes, where despite advancements in insulins, management can still be burdensome. Connected diabetes solutions should be adaptive and able to provide real-time, informed treatment recommendations.

Lilly is working hard to bring connected care to people living with chronic disease, including people with diabetes. We have a connected technology system in development, what we like to call the Connected Diabetes Ecosystem. It will aim to combine Lilly’s long history and expertise in insulin with technological advances to help people with diabetes, their caregivers and healthcare advisors. One day, we hope to put people with diabetes in the driver’s seat, equipped with their own GPS to navigate their diabetes journey.

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