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Sanofi, Vodacom unveil mobile healthcare programme

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Insulin provider, Sanofi has teamed up with Vodacom to unveil MyStarCare, an interactive mobile patient support programme that provides precise, real-time monitoring of diabetic patients to ensure the well-being of patients across Africa, where it is predicted that the incidence of diabetes will have almost doubled by 2030.

The programme is designed to enable doctor/nurse/patient interaction in real-time via a mobile-based app, says the insulin provider.

"MyStarCare, which is rolling out initially in South Africa, is aimed at helping patients take control of their diabetes by assisting them with real-time support to help them live a fulfilled life," says John Fagan, GM at Sanofi SA, part of the global healthcare group that has invested R2.5 million to kick start the programme.

"The Vodacom platform sends regular messages, tips and advice via SMS to patients' cellphones to help them self-manage their diabetes effectively," Fagan explains. "The nurse educators are equipped with the MyStarCare app on their smartphones, which enables them to track the patients' progress. Doctors can also track their patients' progress via mystarcare.co.za."

According to Fagan, the process starts with the patient's doctor, who will register the patient on the MyStarCare programme via a Web-based platform.

He explains that the patient's details are then sent to one of the 57 independent nurses located nationally, who are notified via the app each time a new patient is registered. "The nurses then set up a face-to-face interaction with the patient to educate them fully on their disease and treatment. At this point, the patient can opt in or opt out to receive six months of interactive messages via SMS," says Fagan.

"The patient is prompted to respond to specifically formulated questions regarding injecting, testing, dosage and lifestyle changes in order to help them manage their disease and enable healthcare teams to monitor the success of treatment via real-time reporting and feedback. Patients use a Vodacom short code for their replies and are not billed for their SMS feedback."

Most importantly, Fagan says that all communication is tracked via the app so that doctors and nurses can respond accordingly. The ongoing programme provides support and answers to patients and can be customised, depending on specific questions based on individual patient needs.

"The most important thing for diabetics to manage is keeping sugar levels down to targets set by their doctor," he adds. Patients are required to SMS through insulin doses weekly, as well as their glucose readings - these are then plotted graphically, making it easy for the nurse and doctor to track and monitor patient progress."

"The incidence of diabetes continues to grow across the continent with the current estimate of 15 million diabetics projected to double by 2030," says Vuyani Jarana, chief officer of Vodacom business.

"Mobile technology, for the first time, has a chance to halt the trend of long-term complications of diabetic patients. By teaming up with Sanofi, Vodacom has been able to provide patients with a unique support programme that helps them manage their treatment more effectively and take control of their diabetes and assists them to live a fulfilled life with it."

Fagan says that it is important for Sanofi to be involved in an initiative like this. "It is important that patients using insulin are offered support in order to help them manage their disease and with knowledge of injecting, testing and lifestyle changes they are on the road to self-management of their diabetes."

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