SOUTH AFRICA — Guidepost, a South African health tech company, has successfully completed its trial period and is now launching an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered chatbot designed to assist individuals with diabetes in effectively managing their condition.
Diabetes, characterized by fluctuating and persistently high glucose levels, can lead to severe damage to the body if left uncontrolled
The chatbot provides personalized and continuously updated information to each patient, offering individual coaching from a team of 100 clinically trained professional nurses who serve as Guidepost diabetes educators and coaches.
Diabetes affects approximately one in nine South Africans, making it the leading cause of death among women and the second leading cause of death overall in the country.
Proper control of the illness requires daily self-management to prevent serious complications such as blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, and limb amputations.
However, many individuals struggle to achieve and maintain effective self-management, and this is where the chatbot aims to make a difference.
Guidepost CEO Graham Rowe explained the development process, saying, “Over several years, we collected valuable insights from thousands of patients, identifying their pain points, areas of struggle, and the customized interventions that helped them better manage their diabetes.
“This data informed the development of our chatbot, which leverages AI tools to automate complex decision-making in diabetes management.”
By practicing self-management, individuals with diabetes can maintain their glucose levels within a healthy range and lead productive lives.
During the trial period, the use of the chatbot resulted in significant improvements, with over 2,000 patients achieving normal glucose levels within three months.
The company’s system aligns with other diabetes management technologies, including continuous glucose monitoring devices.
This alignment, combined with the information provided by the chatbot, enables Guidepost’s diabetes educators and coaches to continuously monitor each patient’s glucose levels, providing tailored advice and support on an individual basis.
Professor David Segal, Guidepost’s chief medical officer, emphasized the importance of the chatbot’s role in addressing the daily needs of patients, stating, “Doctors and clinicians are unable to micromanage their patients with diabetes on a daily basis.
“This is the gap that Guidepost is addressing to support patients and improve their health outcomes. We equip patients with the tools and information they need to make better choices and effectively manage their diabetes.”
Guidepost’s patient base is growing at a rate of 15% per month, and the AI system currently encompasses 2.1 million patient data points.
To date, more than 304,000 diabetes interventions have been agreed upon between coaches and patients, including blood glucose measurements and the initiation of exercise routines.
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