Livongo, a digital health app that started out offering a service for sufferers of diabetes and now also covers hypertension, weight loss and mental health is preparing what would be the first digital health IPO in several years. If the Mount View, California, HQ-ed Livongo’s IPO proves a success it will offer a sign that digital health technology has finally reached a level that means it can make a genuinely positive impact in the management of chronic conditions.
With the cost of in-person medical check-ups and consultations such a burden to patients, health care providers and governments, digital solutions that can meaningfully reduce the burden on traditional healthcare systems would be hugely valuable – both as businesses and to society more generally.
Diabetics have to make regular decisions every day around actions to take or not take to help manage their condition. The Livongo solution, which combines a smartphone app and connected ‘IoT’ blood glucose monitor helps inform those decisions in the periods between regular check-ups with a doctor. There are often a few months between such check-ups and a patient’s condition can often fluctuate or change within that time.
Livongo’s platform analyses the data gathered by the blood sugar monitor and other vital statistics their smartphone can read, such as heart rate and sleeping patterns. Dieticians and physiologists then offer real-time medical advice on diet, activity and medication either through the app or via a text message. If, for example, a user’s blood sugar level moves dangerously high or low, the system will trigger an alarm and a coach will call with a warning and advice within a minute.
Livongo founder Glen Tullman was inspired by how big tech companies such as Amazon, Google and Spotify used historical user data and algorithms to be able to figure out what books, products, music or search term listings a user wants before even they do. He decided that there was no reason that improved healthcare couldn’t work on the same principals by using huge amounts of user data to understand what a body wants.
Livongo is starting an IPO roadshow to drum up investor interest and has set its initial price range at between $20 and $23 a share, hoping to raise up to $283 million at a valuation of up to $2.1 billion.
Investors are showing increasing interest in digital and other tech developments that have the potential to bring down the cost and human resources involved in healthcare, especially those which target common conditions.