Novo Nordisk Uses Mixed Reality to Teach Proper Insulin Injection

At A Glance

Novo Nordisk is a $17B Danish multinational pharmaceutical company employing over 40,000 worldwide. They manufacture and market pharmaceutical products and services, and are best known for their commitment to defeating diabetes. GenUI partnered with Novo Nordisk’s Seattle-based research center to create and test a mixed reality training tool for use in the often-frustrating task of proper insulin injection for diabetes patients. 

Putting Patients First

One of the prevalent challenges to managing diabetes is the proper use of insulin injectors, which patients typically self-administer to help balance their blood sugars and avoid long-term complications. While nurses and other medical technicians do their best to guide patients on usage, newly diagnosed patients – over 40% of whom are elderly – are often overwhelmed with information and instructions and struggle to get it right on their own. To support proper self-administration of insulin, and to reduce the burden on healthcare providers when onboarding patients, Novo Nordisk partnered with GenUI to prototype a new, interactive way to train patients.

Exploring Options

First, the GenUI team explored a number of available technologies for short- and long-term solutions. We ran development spikes to check the feasibility of various combinations and offerings, and built working prototypes of the options we felt would be best suited for success. 

Mixing It Up

Coming out of that exploration, GenUI recommended use of Microsoft’s HoloLens, a pair of mixed reality smart-glasses that blend optics and sensors to deliver 3D holograms pinned to the real world. This was paired with our custom design and software solutions, including a Kubernetes development cluster and an automated deployment pipeline.

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Here’s how it works:

  • A patient wears the HoloLens glasses while holding an insulin pen injector in front of them.

  • As instructions proceed, the patient is interactively prompted through the injection process.

  • The patient is informed in real-time if they've done something correctly or not, moving the experience from "tell me" to "show me".  

Continuing To Collaborate

In addition to this program, GenUI’s team has collaborated with Novo Nordisk over the last 18-months, joining their R&D team to support mobile development, software engineering delivery, testing, and UX/UI design. Novo Nordisk has also infused GenUI’s processes, core dev practices and procedures with their own culture to ensure meeting key objectives and milestones.

GenUI has become a trusted partner in our strategy to develop digital therapies to improve the lives of people living with diabetes.

Brad Van Orden, Associate Director of Digital Therapeutics at Novo Nordisk

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