Patient-Driven Diabetes Care of the Future in the Technology Era


Posted Jul 26 , 2019 01:48 AM

Patient-Driven Diabetes Care of the Future in the Technology Era.
Ashrafzadeh S. and Hamdy O. Cell Metabolism 2019;29:564-575

Institute Summary (excerpted from the abstract)

The growing burden of diabetes is fueled by obesity-inducing lifestyle behaviors including high-calorie diets and lack of physical activity. Challenges in access to diabetes specialists and educators, low adherence to medications, and inadequate motivational support for proper disease self-management contribute to poor glycemic control in patients with diabetes. Simultaneously, high patient volumes and low reimbursement rates limit physicians’ time spent on lifestyle behavior counseling. These barriers to efficient diabetes care lead to high rates of diabetes-related complications, driving healthcare costs up and reducing the quality of patients’ lives. Considering recent advancements in healthcare delivery technologies such as smartphone applications, telemedicine, m-health, device connectivity, machine-learning technology, and artificial intelligence, there is significant opportunity to achieve better efficiency in diabetes care and increase patient involvement in diabetes self-management, which ultimately may put an end to soaring diabetes related healthcare expenditures. This review explores the patient driven diabetes care of the future in the technology era.

Why is this important?

We are living in a digital era in which technology can revolutionize the way that patients manage their diabetes and receive medical care. Telemedicine and m-health have shown great promise in promoting weight loss and glycemic control among patients with diabetes while significantly improving convenience, time efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Economic analyses are needed to determine whether remote telemedicine consultation should be used as a replacement for conventional in-person diabetes care across all communities. Unfortunately, minority populations including Hispanic Americans and non-Hispanic black Americans have shown reduced adherence to telemedicine and m-health programs compared with white Americans, where adherence was associated with improvement in A1C over time. Although adherence to digital health programs was still higher than adherence to usual diabetes care among minority patients, strategies to improve telemedicine outreach and efficacy among non-white patients should be investigated. It is crucial to engage patients with diabetes in their health and disease management to improve their quality of life and to reduce diabetes-related expenditures. The new generation of patients with diabetes is more technologically inclined than previous generations, and our technological capabilities are better as well: faster internet services and pervasive smartphone use that enable rapid communication of and access to health information.

Concluding Thought:
“Technology is anything that wasn’t around when you were born.” - Alan Kay (Computer Scientist)

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