The Wall Street Journal reported today that a story published in Diabetic Care revealed that software added to even the most basic of cell phones can help diabetes patients significantly lower a key measure of blood sugar over a one-year period.
For those not too familiar, Diabetes is a disease which requires a patient to constantly check his or her blood sugar and adhere to strict diet. The complications that could result otherwise are unpleasant, but can be avoided, for the most part, if the patient adheres to the appropriate treatment regiment.
Using the cell phone app, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine were successful in conducting the study with positive results. Composed of 4 groups, The study was conducted on a total of 167 patients.
3 groups of patients, who all took various medications to manage their diabetes, received mobile phones with diabetes management software. The last group received the usual treatment without the app.
Patients in the 3 groups who received the cell phones were asked to enter their blood glucose levels into the app. Once entered, the patients would receive a message indicating whether their reading was too high or too low. The app was even advanced enough to send reminders to patients to retest their blood sugar. Making it much easier for patients to live their days without worrying as much about constantly monitoring their sugar for the many fluctuations that can occur during the day while allowing for the patients’ doctors and nurses to also access their progress though a secured website.
The study found that a vital indicator of blood glucose levels–known as the A1C–decreased 1.9 percentage points in the group that used the app compared to the 0.7 percentage point decrease in the group that received are more traditional style of treatment.
With such modern technology available, it’s a shame to not take advantage of it. With interactive apps like this one, patients are able to be better monitored by their caregivers, and receive the instant care they may need to prevent a disaster.
Having to constantly check blood sugar can make some patients forgetful, but having a simple constant reminder can be all they need to keep going. If having a simple app on a phone can encourage a patient to test his blood sugar, it is a investment in life that all people with diabetes should be allowed to access.
Even if it means having an extra cell phone battery or cell phone charger on hand.
That’s just pennies compared to what could be lost.