The quest for intelligent information about his diabetes and potential complications from his condition lead Chris Genders to create the Intellin app. He spoke to Sue Marshall.
An app could help prevent diabetes complications. Intellin, by Gendius, allows you to track how you are managing your diabetes – such as recording blood sugars, carbohydrate intake, body mass index, and insulin dosages – with the unique benefit of the app indicating your risk of developing complications.
During the setup, you are taken through three sections of background questions, and the app uses these to generate a risk profile. The app then sends daily hints and tips on how to limit the risk of these complications. The platform has been built after extensive collaboration with people with diabetes and healthcare professionals.
Gendius co-founder Chris Genders, who has Type 2 diabetes, says, “After being diagnosed with diabetes… it is great to now see an app on the marketplace that is unique and based around the individual’s needs. Everyone’s diabetes is different but the complications we go onto develop are the same. The name Intellin came from ‘intelligent information’. We wanted a smarter app to look at – more of a satnav showing direction of travel – a look at the road ahead – more than just a simple tracker, which tend to look at the road through the rearview mirror, what’s happened in the past.”
Gender’s experienced a diagnosis of diabetes when he was 50, and although he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, he was on insulin within three months. He says, Therefore I know what it’s like for people with Type 1 too, injecting insulin and blood testing for patterns and to avoid highs and lows.”
As mentioned, the app has three tiers. Genders explains, “The first requires basic information such as your name, ethnicity, date of birth. The second level is information about your diabetes that you are likely to know yourself. The third and final level is more clinical and may need input from your HCP.”
In all there are 32 questions over all the sections. “It can still work just on the basic level,” says Genders, “but once all the factors are put it can begin it can start to predict likely outcomes more accurately. So, if one of the factors inputted is that you have high blood pressure, the app will tell you that this adds to your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.”
It’s not all bad news though, the app includes a library of hints and tips that can help steer you towards slowing down the disease progression and related risk of complications.
Genders has now been on insulin for 15 years and says, “While I quickly understood about blood testing, insulin injection and being careful with my diet, I also realised I still had to get on with life. I also appreciate that getting this kind of information can be quite scary for some people, therefore it will not appeal to everyone. It is difficult to tread the line between trying to motivate people by giving them information about likely outcomes, and just scaring them. If they are scared, they are likely to go into denial and not be able to act. But diabetes is not a benign disease; the app is meant to show you that if you can improve your control, you can improve your outcomes. It is meant to assist you.”