Spotlight Series

5 minutes with: Dr. Jennifer Schneider, Chief Medical Officer, Livongo

At Collective Health, we know creating the healthcare experience we all deserve is not the job of one company. That’s why we spend a lot of time working with, and listening to, some of the most innovative companies and people working in our industry.

This month, we sat down with Dr. Jennifer Schneider, Chief Medical Officer at Livongo. Dr. Schneider formerly held several key leadership roles at Castlight Health, including in clinical product development, strategic analytics, and as their Chief Medical Officer. She has also held leadership roles in the provider setting as a health outcomes researcher and Chief Resident at Stanford University, and has practiced medicine as an attending physician at Stanford University, the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, and Kaiser Permanente. She also has Type 1 diabetes.

What problem is Livongo trying to solve?

For those of us with chronic conditions, we spend 99.99 percent of our lives outside the care of a physician. At Livongo, we’re using data-informed digital and in-person coaching to empower people with chronic conditions to live a better life.

"In 20 years, the number of people that will have diabetes in China and India combined is greater than the population of the US."

How is Livongo moving the industry forward?

At Livongo, we’re combining the latest technology and coaching to make diabetes management simpler for people, driving clear clinical outcomes. Our consumer-friendly tools help people with diabetes track, understand, and find help on a real-time basis, when they are interested and engaged.

Here’s how it works:

When people use their Livongo blood glucose meter to check their blood glucose, they signal to our team that for those 30 seconds, they’re thinking about their condition. That gives us the perfect window to give them valuable, real-time, context-specific messages in response to their blood glucose right through the actual meter (I like to think of it as a marketer’s dream!). Further, if a member checks in and she’s in a “danger zone,” meaning her blood glucose is too high or too low, a certified diabetes educator calls her within three minutes and stays on the phone with her until she’s safe. That’s how we’re revolutionizing the business — we’re providing valuable, context-specific information at the time when it matters.

Arthur C. Clark said technology deployed perfectly “is indistinguishable from magic.” Livongo feels like magic for people living with a chronic condition (I would know—I have Type 1 diabetes).

How do you measure the success of your product?

We calibrate our success around a few key questions:

  • First and foremost, are we making people’s lives better and reducing the hassle of living with diabetes? (The answer is yes! People love us.)
  • Are we driving clear clinical outcomes, keeping members outside of danger zones more regularly and improving their overall blood glucose control via an A1C measurement? (Again, the answer is yes! We reduce excursions into high (>180) and low (<80) blood glucose readings by 15 percent, and we lower A1C by nearly a full point across the entire population.)
  • And finally, are we saving our customers (self-insured employers, payers, and at-risk providers) money? (Yes! We see total medical savings of $186 per participant per month.)

What’s a topic in healthcare today that isn’t getting the attention it deserves?

There’s been a lot of focus on cost/quality transparency, but I think we need to get back to where the real spend is in healthcare. The bulk of healthcare spend is in chronic conditions. While chronic conditions do get some attention, we haven’t seen any of that attention make a meaningful impact. Diabetes is a great example. In 20 years, the number of people that will have diabetes in China and India combined is greater than the population of the US. That’s shocking. I think with the right kind of attention, we can change that.

Word on the Street: Tell us your favorite success story.

One of my favorite member stories is about a 6’4” college football player with Type 1 diabetes. The member, let’s call him Sam, woke up at 4 a.m. in his college dorm with his blood glucose somewhere in the 40s. In the past, Sam had seizures due to low blood glucose levels, and he knew that if he stood up he would be in trouble. Instead of moving, Sam checked his blood glucose while lying in bed, and within minutes he received a call from Kendall, one of our Livongo certified diabetes educators. Sam and Kendall devised a plan for him to crawl to the refrigerator to get some juice. While making his way across the floor, Sam’s roommate came home (college life!). The three of them continued the conversation to ensure Sam was safe. At the end of the episode, Sam coined the phrase, “A Livongo Moment,” which encompasses what we are all about at Livongo — putting members first and ensuring their safety.

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