With A New Medical Device and Accompanying Platform, Roche Advances its Digital Ecosystem

by Daniel Ojeda
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Point-of-care testing gives healthcare professionals the ability to make timely and informed decisions to offer patients the best care possible. Medical devices and software that enables point-of-care treatment are necessary. For this reason, and in a push to create a digital health ecosystem, Roche unveiled its cobas pulse system, the first blood glucose management device, which integrates to its clinical data management platform. 

In a statement, Thomas Schinecker, CEO, Roche Diagnostics said “Frontline health workers are under increasing pressure to not only accurately diagnose patients, but also make appropriate decisions on all aspects of disease management and patient care,” 

He added “Our commitment is to equip them with high-performance innovations that represent a real step-change in their working lives. We are pleased to introduce a truly novel solution that puts actionable clinical insights, and a near limitless range of digital capabilities for patient care, in the palms of their hands.”

The Future of Glucose Management


The cobas pulse system is a handheld device that utilizes an Android-based interface making it “as simple as a smartphone”. The device includes an automated glucose strip reader, embedded camera, and secure RFID badging. The cobas pulse system tracks glucose with high accuracy, reduces contamination risk, and can be used with all patient populations. 

Beyond its testing capabilities, the cobas pulse system can provide clinical decision support, monitor vital signs, and track digital biomarkers. 

For the software powering its clinical decision support, Roche tapped Massachusetts-based Glytec. Using the FDA-cleared insulin dosing support software, Glucommander, the cobas pulse system empowers clinicians to take immediate action and consequently improve patient outcomes as shown by a 99.8% reduction in severe low blood sugar episodes. 

The system will start shipping to select countries in Europe. Roche will seek clearance in the U.S. and other global markets throughout 2022. 

Creating a Digital Healthcare Ecosystem


Roche has its sight set beyond medical devices. With only 15% of healthcare organizations lacking a fully integrated data management system, there is a huge unmet need. For this reason, Roche aims to create an ecosystem of apps. 

One of the key systems of their plan is the cobas infinity edge platform. This is Roche’s integration and data management software. This encrypted cloud-based platform allows for medical records, tests results, and monitoring of patients. However, it also acts as a business-to-business marketplace, which connects digital health creators with healthcare providers. Roche already signed partnerships with S4DX, imito, decide, Glytec, CardioSignal, and SteadySense. 

To better integrate the different systems, Roche is also creating hardware powered by these apps. Together, it allows healthcare professionals to adopt the digital tools of third-party developers. By connecting patient test results, medical records, and third-party applications, professionals will be able to monitor patients’ health, adjust treatment protocols, and make quick data-driven patient care decisions across clinical settings.

The potential for this technology goes beyond the point-of-care treatments as shown by Roche’s and Microsoft’s recent partnership. They will use AI to improve early diagnosis.

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