Guidepost and Discovery Life Team up to deliver
world-first, tech-enabled diabetes care

World-class improvement in clinical outcomes achieved

14 November 2022 – Cape Town, Guidepost, a South African diabetes telemedicine, clinical analytics and risk management company, and Discovery Life, have partnered to deliver a world-first, innovative tech-enabled diabetes management programme, which, in its pilot phase, has delivered significant results for those living with diabetes.

The pilot programme, launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, involved using data analytics to identify Discovery Life insurance clients at risk of being diagnosed or already living with Type 2 diabetes, so that they could participate in the specialised diabetes coaching programme offered by Guidepost. The programme is an extension of a long-standing existing relationship between Guidepost and Discovery Health, which has yielded impressive results in improving the health outcomes of people living with diabetes.

Diabetes was identified as a significant risk factor for COVID-19 patients and poor management of the disease had serious negative consequences. The success of the pilot programme has led to Discovery Life now extending access to the programme to more of its policyholders living with diabetes.

The 2021 report on mortality and causes of death by Statistics South Africa, identified diabetes as the second deadliest disease in the country. According to statistics from the International Diabetes Federation over 4.5 million South Africans have diabetes. A study published in the Lancet in 2018 predicts that diabetes would be the leading cause of death in South Africa in 2040. 

Diabetes is a complex, chronic disease requiring continuous medical care. Ongoing patient self-management, education and support are critical factors in preventing the risk of long-term complications. Global evidence shows that lifestyle interventions can significantly help to improve the health outcomes of those living with diabetes. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% of all diabetes cases and is known as the ‘lifestyle disease.”

“Our experience shows that undiagnosed, untreated, and uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious complications for those living with diabetes. Diabetes can negatively impact the quality of life of those living with diabetes as well as their family and caregivers,” says Gareth Friedlander, Deputy CEO, Discovery Life. “In addition, the burden on the healthcare sector is immense as it requires continual medical care, with patients requiring hospitalisation during acute issues. Our actuarial and clinical analysis identified the business case for providing Guidepost diabetes coaching to our members and highlighted the significant health benefit to our clients.”

The Discovery Life and Guidepost programme involved the identification of Discovery Life high-risk policyholders or those living with diabetes and inviting them to be part of the programme. Through a series of individualised tele-consultations, clients with diabetes, and their dedicated coach, embarked on a journey of progressive improvement. Using Guidepost’s sophisticated tools and data analytics, a dedicated coach provided the patient with support around diet, lifestyle, medication training and self-monitoring of diabetes. The patient’s doctor was informed of the process and where necessary involved.

“Overwhelming evidence is stacking up that proves that lifestyle interventions, which promote healthy diets, physical activity and weight reduction, play a huge role in preventing complications and death from diabetes amongst high-risk populations,” says Graham Rowe, Chief Executive Officer, Guidepost. “Our own data, gathered for more than 10 years, points to personalised coaching helping to significantly improve diabetes outcomes for those committed to the programme. We know that the Discovery Group is a global leader in innovative behaviour change that results in people making healthier choices and were excited to partner with Discovery Life on this programme. The data from our earlier pilot with Discovery Health clearly demonstrated excellent clinical impact and high levels of member satisfaction. This partnership with Discovery Life is helping us achieve our goal of helping more people living with diabetes to live longer and healthier lives.”

“Discovery is truly an organisation driven by its core purpose ‘to make people healthier and to enhance and protect their lives’. Therefore, we will continuously keep this focus for our clients in our product and services, which has been evident in the outstanding results of the Guidepost Diabetes coaching pilot. The coaching programme has improved health outcomes of our clients living with Type 2 diabetes and contributed positively to their families and lifestyle. In creating this unique benefit for our clients, we can expect claims from diabetes related illnesses to reduce as clients become healthier and better equipped in managing the illness.,” concludes Friedlander.