Podcast: Cloud Technology is the Chronic Disease Solution


Glen Tullman, CEO of Livongo Health, discusses how a high-tech/high-touch approach can help people with chronic disease live healthier lives and how cloud technology may transform chronic disease management.

Glen Tullman

2 min read

The key to controlling chronic disease costs and improving the quality of life for the 422 million people who have diabetes? Stop trying to make chronic disease fit our acute-care model. Instead, use cloud-based technology to offer support and interventions when people actually need them. (That is, all day, every day; seven days a week, 365 days a year.)

So says Glen Tullman, Chairman and CEO of Livongo Health. Livongo is a consumer digital health company that empowers people with chronic conditions to live a better life. They have developed a new approach for diabetes management that combines the latest technology with coaching.

In this episode of the Oliver Wyman Health podcast, Oliver Wyman’s Sam Glick and Glen discuss how the health system has failed at chronic disease management; how technology can engage people with chronic disease; how coaching needs to be contextually relevant and non-intrusive; and how the future of healthcare looks a lot like an OnStar.


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Available on iTunesSoundCloudStitcheriHeartRadioTuneIn, and Google Play Music. For more information on this and other episodes, check out the Oliver Wyman Health Podcast page, featuring executive conversations on the business of transforming healthcare.

More from this episode:

  • One reason so many disease management efforts falter is we tend to treat chronic disease patients exactly like those with acute conditions – you break your arm, you go to the doctor, you get a cast, and you’re on your way. Chronic disease is nothing like that. (3:18)
  • “We have to find ways that we can be there to assist the person with that chronic condition when they need it. Technology and the cloud can play a critical role to give consumers their real-time information and make sure they have the right support at exactly the right moment they need it.” (4:50)
  • How to provide disease management interventions without technology being ever-present or intrusive? See: OnStar. “The only time you know you have OnStar is if you’re in an accident.” (6:06)
  • In contrast: “The coaching model we use is we call people randomly and remind them they have a chronic condition and we ask if we can help; but by definition, we’re always calling at the wrong time.” (7:55)
  • How a single finger prick could change the course of diabetes management: Livongo uses cloud-based data aggregation to turn information into insights. “This about keeping an individual healthy and happy and letting them live their life, and doing the same thing for a population.” (12:33)
  • What will it take to scale consumer-centric, technology-enabled solutions like Livongo? “We have to get our healthcare leaders to step out and instead of saying maybe I’ll pilot something, they should be actively saying we know we can do better, and we’re in a rapid and desperate search for better solution.” (15:54)
  • Who will drive change? “We see that change being largely driven by innovative self-insured employers, who are actively out there searching for solutions and saying, ‘we know we can do better for our employees.’” (16:49)
  •  What is the biggest obstacle to innovation? “I think we have a fundamental crisis in leadership. It’s not about the technology, the medications, the payment system – all that can be managed. What this is really about is healthcare leaders of large stepping up and saying we’re going to go after these problems, we’re going to combine big companies and little companies and find solutions.” (20:14)
  • Glen Tullman