Livongo, a Mountain View, California-based health care tech startup, announced Tuesday it is rolling out a slate of innovations through 2019. Together, the products--including a behavior-linked incentive program that provides free medication and an A.I.-powered, cloud-connected, voice-enabled blood-pressure monitor--reveal encouraging advances for the 135 million Americans with chronic conditions.

Since its 2014 founding, Livongo has been offering technology for patients with diabetes that wirelessly syncs their blood-sugar screening results to their own devices and those of their health care providers or coaches. Over the years, the company has bolstered its system with sophisticated machine learning and data science that communicate its actionable findings back to patients. For example, it might advise a patient showing a spike to drink two glasses of water and take a short walk, and test again in 15 minutes. Or it could encourage a user to phone their physician.

With its announcement Tuesday, Livongo is putting a name to that innovation: "Applied Health Signals." It's a nod to the fact that the company sees weakness in how the likes of Microsoft and IBM collect troves of data and aggregate it but fail to churn out useful information to help humans directly. That's precisely what Livongo chief executive Glen Tullman wants to change.

Livongo takes its massive store of data, analyzes it, and feeds it back into the customer's hands in a useful way. "We are aggregating all the data not just from our devices, but from their electronic health records, from their pharmacy claims," Tullman says. (The company also announced a fresh data partnership Tuesday.) "We've created a flywheel that the more data we have the better our answers get."

About 100,000 people in the U.S. currently use Livongo's system, according to the company. With the launch of a new cellular-connected blood-pressure monitor in 2019, Livongo will expand to help hypertension patients. It aims to reach one million users within two years.

In a move similar to one it's made in the past--offering its users with diabetes free test strips--Livongo will provide free medication to certain regular users of the high-tech, voice-communication-enabled blood-pressure cuff. Through integration with a voice-A.I. engine, the device will be able to talk directly to users, answering questions and alerting them if their reading signals an actionable health concern.

Back in 2015, when Inc. featured Tullman, a serial entrepreneur who'd stepped from investor into the chief executive role at Livongo, the company had just a few dozen employees. Today it's up to nearly 500, with offices in Mountain View and Chicago as well as roughly 30 percent of staff working remotely. The company says it is set to double its 2017 revenue of $31 million this year. In April, Livongo was valued at more than $800 million.

Published on: Oct 30, 2018