For The Record with Lonny Stormo, CEO, Pops Diabetes Care

April 12  

What does Pops Diabetes Care Do?

The Pops® one System is a virtual diabetes management platform. The system combines the power of the user’s phone with an app and an integrated glucose monitor. People who use the system can manage their condition through their phone using a simple experience, leading to improved outcomes.  

You’re making a true connected device that bridges digital health and medical device. Has this lead to any issues either with investors or regulators?

As you imply in your question, people often like to think of digital health as standalone software and medical devices a standalone devices. As virtual care matures beyond telehealth to the point of technology that enables people to own their condition’s management, the industry will see more and more solutions that connect devices with intelligent software. We have run into minor issues where investors or competitions prefer to box-in solutions to “medical device” or “software,” but this is usually resolved with some discussion. Additionally, it is always a decision, following regulatory guidance, regarding what part of the system falls into regulatory review. Having software and connectivity as part of the combined system certainly brings additional development and security work into the process and final regulatory review.  

Now that the Pops System has been commercially launched, what’s the next milestone you’re looking for?

It is important for us, as a company that is mission driven, to deliver the user experience that people love and help those same people achieve better health outcomes. Pops will be focusing on achieving these milestones, which will then drive our key business milestones of client, user, and revenue growth.

Pops is committed to reducing healthcare associated waste — what does that look like and how does that tie into your company’s mission?

The majority of healthcare dollars spent on diabetes is spent on complications from poor diabetes management. Our mission is to reinvent how people manage their health. With all of the money we spend on healthcare, we are still wasting too much on addressing the complications that come from poor healthcare. At the same time, spending is decreasing on a key prevention measure: primary healthcare. We need to introduce more virtual care into our healthcare industry to help people take early and appropriate measures to prevent future healthcare spending and waste for health complications.

You go to great lengths to talk about people not diabetics. Why?

Healthcare will be better when we can get rid of the labels. Why do we insist on calling people “patients” or “diabetics?” When I walk into a clinic, I am Lonny, not “Lonny the diabetic.”

Yes, I have diabetes and need to manage my condition, but it does not define who I am. I am a person first and foremost.

This becomes exponentially more important as the consumerization of healthcare is taking root in our culture. People who need healthcare do not want to be labeled a patient—they want to consume healthcare and will demand the same type of consumer experience that they demand whether they are online shopping or going to a restaurant. Anyone in healthcare that holds onto traditional beliefs that we “treat patients” risks falling behind.

You came from a company that sold devices to doctors and hospitals. Now you are targeting employers and employees. Why? What is different?

There is absolutely a place for how current drugs and devices are sold and whom they are sold to. However, Pops achieves our goal when we combine a simple consumer experience with virtual care to allow people, who need to manage a condition, the power to manage their condition on their terms. This type of thinking and service does not fit the traditional healthcare payment system well. As healthcare consumerism, technology, and treatments evolve, we should also expect the way healthcare is paid for to evolve. Employees desire cutting-edge benefits and employers desire reduced healthcare spending, so Pops going directly to these stakeholders with novel healthcare is a great business fit.

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