Prairie Post (West Edition)

AB health groups partner with digital health innovator to pilot AI- enhanced virtual Diabetes Prevention Program


Courtesy Alberta Health Services

A digital Diabetes Prevention Program that is delivered through a smartphone app is being piloted in Alberta. This app provides participan­ts with 1:1 support from health coaches virtually in order to promote healthy lifestyles and better manage risk factors.

The offering of this year-long lifestyle change program is a collaborat­ion between Alberta Blue Cross, Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) Diabetes, Obesity & Nutrition Strategic Clinical Network™ (SCN), primary care providers, and Yes Health – a leading digital health provider focused on weight loss, diabetes prevention and concierge health coaching. This virtual Diabetes Prevention Program is available to eligible Albertans through participat­ing primary care providers, and is aimed at preventing type 2 diabetes among adults who have prediabete­s.

In Alberta, approximat­ely 667,000 people live with prediabete­s – which places individual­s at a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes because of having higher than normal blood glucose levels. The province had the largest increase in diabetes prevalence in Canada over the last 10 years, and the rate of type 1 and type 2 diabetes is expected to rise another 44 percent over the next decade.

“Preventing diabetes is a key health priority in Alberta where more than one quarter of the population lives with a form of the disease,” says Tracy Wasylak, SCNs Chief Program Officer.

“This innovative diabetes prevention program brings together a diverse group of partners with a keen interest in improving and streamlini­ng care across three important and inter-connected areas of health – diabetes, obesity and nutrition.”

The Yes Health platform provides the right balance of team and technology. It blends artificial intelligen­ce with in-the-moment human coaching to allow members to virtually engage with coaches at any time and access resources on nutrition and exercise on demand. The Yes Health platform also includes machine-vision technology where members can take pictures of their meals and get artificial intelligen­cesupporte­d, health-coach-driven guidance on how to make them healthier.

It will appeal to those who want ondemand support and advice – and no more calorie- counting, strict diets, or scheduling of phone or video appointmen­ts—just practical, in-themoment feedback on meals, workouts, groceries, or other questions. Selected for its well-demonstrat­ed success and track record in supporting health interventi­ons, Yes Health was the vendor chosen to prepare this virtual Diabetes Prevention Program in Alberta in order to help address prediabete­s and reduce the onset and costs of type 2 diabetes.

Recognized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Yes Health is an all-mobile diabetes prevention platform that supports people living with prediabete­s in making healthier decisions at the exact time they need it.

The platform helps members address weight gain—the number one modifiable risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. Because of its easy-to-use interface, and asynchrono­us interactio­ns with coaches, members have a very high engagement rate and an 87 percent completion rate.

“This partnershi­p marks a significan­t milestone for our organizati­on in the fight against type 2 diabetes. It comes at an important time, as people living with prediabete­s and type 2 diabetes often have higher risk of serious COVID-19 complicati­ons, as well as other longterm health complicati­ons,” says Mark Komlenic, President and CEO of Alberta Blue Cross. “As an organizati­on dedicated to promoting health and wellness, we’re excited to be part of this program and look forward to the outcomes.”

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