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We profile tech companies that work on one of the five existential challenges. This week, we focused on Glooko and the healthcare crisis. (As always, they didn't pay us for coverage.) Subscribe if you haven't already!

When you look at the justifications given for the spectacular increase in cost, most are vague; gesturing to the increasing costs of production. But an active class-action lawsuit claims that the 3 largest manufacturers are "exponentially raising consumer insulin prices in an organized scheme to drive up prices at the expense of patients who need insulin drugs to live." Not so vague.

The suit alleges that the manufacturers offer rebates to cooperative high-volume distributors. Regardless of intent, everyone else — from uncooperative insurers to uninsured people with diabetes — have to pay the inflated sticker price. Turns out, that's a lot of people.

>100M


Americans are diabetic or pre-diabetic

2M


people with diabetes have no health insurance

1 in 5


people with diabetes are now rationing insulin

With prices doubling every 4 years, insulin is certainly the biggest line item. But it's not the only challenge faced by people with diabetes: glucometers, attentive doctors, and access to proper nutrition all fall through the healthcare gaps, the sum total of which can even be fatal.

I got to visit a patient with diabetes, and I learned firsthand that not everyone has access to the right foods, access to the right doctors, access to a support network. [...] When you sit down with them, you can see how hard it is to manage their health.

— Amy Ng, UX Designer, Glooko

Amy Ng, a Bay Area-based UX Designer, was talking about her early experiences at Glooko. Glooko's mission is straightforward: use technology to improve diabetes management. Amy works there now, but she started as a pharmacist, working her way up through Walgreens. Somewhere along the line, she found herself working as the staff pharmacist for a health tech startup, working side by side with designers. She saw how design transformed a burdensome process into an empowering experience.

When she first reached out to Glooko, she connected with a senior designer and had a two hour conversation about all the ways technology can improve the healthcare experience. As a pharmacist, she knew they were working on the right problems. As a designer, she was ready to solve problems at a larger scale. She joined, and so can you.
 


Here are a few of Grove's open roles as of Oct 28, 2019:

Senior UX/UI Designer

Product | San Francisco


Senior Android Engineer

Engineering | San Francisco
 

Principal Software Architect

Engineering | San Francisco
 
(and a lot more!)

The key to Glooko's efficacy is their mobile app. It connects with many diabetes devices, so users can see all of their readings in one place. They can also log their food, medicine, and exercise to get a holistic picture of their diabetes management. These readings help foster a stronger relationship between the users and their healthcare providers: users can share their logs with their clinicians, which allows for the creation of more personalized care plans. It's a virtuous cycle that works: a typical Glooko user sees a 19.2% decrease in average blood glucose over one year.

"I was almost sure that I could make a bigger impact as a designer than as a pharmacist, and starting to work at Glooko confirmed it," Amy told us. And that impact will likely continue to increase for the foreseeable future. In part because Glooko is growing, but also because diabetes, unfortunately, is growing too. By 2030...

54%


increase in diabetic diagnoses is expected

$622B


will be spent annually on diabetes

50%


of people with diabetes could be unable to afford regular insulin

The only way to prevent such a bleak future is to face our current reality directly. As with all seemingly-insurmountable challenges, all we really need to do is pick up our tools and start working. Glooko is doing that, day by day, giving people with diabetes control of their data and power to better their lives.

If you want to help make healthcare more accessible, apply for a job or refer a friend!

If you're not already subscribed, click here. If you're already a subscriber, please consider forwarding to spread the word!

Project Mobilize is written and curated by Patrick Perini and Alec Davis, with special thanks to Brad Thibeau and Renée Holden.


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