28 Feb Introducing Diabetes Care Finalists in the NOLAHI Challenge

finalists NOLAHIThe Center for Disease Control estimates that by 2050, nearly 1 in 3 Americans will be diagnosed with diabetes in their lifetime. Louisiana has the 5th-highest rate of diabetes in the nation. NOLABA partnered with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Ochsner Health System to seek innovative solutions to solve this epidemic by issuing a nationwide call for ideas, the NOLA Health Innovators Challenge (NOLAHI). Three finalists have been chosen to pitch their solutions for improving diabetes care on March 20. These three companies represent the greatest innovative thinking in the country and will present their ideas during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week for a chance to win $36,000 and a pilot partnership in New Orleans. Register now to attend the NOLAHI Pitch Finale.


If blood sugar levels get out of control, diabetics can faint, and without emergency action, die. So Alertgy, based in Melbourne, Fla., developed a noninvasive real-time blood glucose monitor and alert system in which a diabetes patient wears a wristband with nonintrusive sensors. If blood sugars start to go too high or too low, the smartphone monitoring the wristband with wireless technology notifies the user. If the user ignores or is unable to respond, it will call the alert contacts that the user programs into his or her phone app.

CEO Marc Rippen has been working with the U.S. government for more than 20 years developing sensor systems to detect chemical and biological agents.

“I’ve come to understand there is sensor technology that can measure blood glucose and can measure it without being obtrusive, without having to make an injection,” he said. “The way you do that is through dielectric spectroscopy, a technique that allows you to measure blood glucose directly. What we propose to do is build a sensor array that would have different analytes like sweat, PH and a bunch of other things known to have a relationship with blood glucose levels, and be able to calibrate the system real-time. So instead of having accuracy in 30% range like old devices that have been tried in the past and failed, we now can increase the accuracy to 99.999%, making it practical and realistic to use.”

Ulcer Prevention Insoles: Bonbouton

For patients with diabetes, ignorance of foot health status can be devastating medically, emotionally and financially. So Bonbouton has developed a wearable insole with a proprietary embedded graphene sensing system to passively monitor the skin’s physiological signals in a diabetic patient in order to detect early signs of foot ulcers. Bonbouton is a technology platform for preventative diabetic healthcare based in Long Island City, N.Y., led by founder & CEO Linh Le.

“At Bonbouton, we hope we can bridge the gap between the technology and healthcare,” Le said. “I have always been interested in graphene. At Stevens Institute of Technology, I led a team who explored graphene in different applications from energy storage to, most recently, wearable sensors. When we accidentally exposed (graphene) to high heat, we found that it’s very temperature sensitive. Diabetic patients can potentially benefit from this technology, especially those who cannot feel their feet. With our solution we developed a whole system with hardware, software and an app. The app allows the patient to monitor their foot health with real time data. The data can be shared between patient, physician and insurance company.”

Diabetes Simplified: DIASYST

DIASYST engages patients to collect critical information in real time, analyzes the data with proprietary algorithms and provides time appropriate medication intervention recommendations for a healthcare team to make effective, individualized and safe treatment decisions. DIASYST is a health IT company out of Emory University, Georgia Tech and the Atlanta VA Medical Center developing novel solutions to improve the management of common and costly diseases such as diabetes. Chief Strategy Officer Tim Eggena said DIASYST’s mission is “to simplify healthcare for everyone.”

“DIASYST began with an effort to prove that real-time monitoring of blood sugar levels and timely medication management could significantly improve the care for Type 2 diabetics,” he said. “We are a telehealth solution that advises a clinician on how to manage medications. DIASYST empowers the care team with advanced endocrinology medication management techniques.”

According to their application for the NOLAHI Challenge, “DIASYST is very suitable for transitioning care from the hospital to the patient home, particularly for patients admitted initially due to severe hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, or other diabetes-related factors.”