Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine have found that a mobile phone app can help patients manage their Type 2 diabetes. Their study, which is one of the first to look at mobile health technology, involved software that provides real-time feedback on blood sugar levels – if levels are too high or too low, patients are prompted to take the necessary steps to correct it. The 163 patients who participated in the interactive program over a 12-month period were able to lower their hemoglobin A1 (a key measure of blood sugar control) by an average of 1.9 percent.
The 1.9 percent decrease in A1c that we saw in this research is significant. Previous randomized clinical trials have suggested that just a 1 percent decrease in A1c will prevent complications of diabetes, including heart disease, stroke, blindness and kidney failure.
Quinn says the study also shows the potential of mobile phone software to help patients manage other chronic diseases: “We tell patients that they can meet these goals if they eat a healthy diet, exercise daily and take their medication as directed, but we don’t really give them the tools to do that.” Her paper will appear in the September issue of Diabetes Care.