3 Ways mHealth-Enabled Remote Diabetes Care Improves Patient Satisfaction and Health System Efficiency

Over the last few years, a lot of buzz has been made about mHealth and its ability to revolutionize healthcare. However, deriving value from practical applications of mHealth has been challenging… Questions like a) “Do activity trackers like Fitbit or Jawbone only bring value to health conscious people?” and b) “Is there really value in constantly monitoring heart rate?” remain unanswered.

Chronic disease management, including conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), is a domain where the value of mHealth is less ambiguous from both a care delivery and economics perspective. mHealth tools can be a powerful catalyst for enabling remote patient care that both improves patient experience and outcomes and makes the system more efficient.

From the patient standpoint, people struggling with chronic conditions are required to make healthcare decisions on a frequent basis (around the clock with T1 diabetes) and clearly benefit from more regular interaction with their caregivers, a service that mHealth can enable. From a health system perspective, having frequent, data driven interactions with chronically ill patients via mHealth decreases the risk of a patient suffering from serious health complications, and in turn saves the health system money in the short term (less hospitalizations) and long term (less comorbidities)!

Despite these clear benefits, in the diabetes world both people with diabetes (PWDs) and healthcare providers can be hesitant to adopt mHealth enabled, remote monitoring solutions as they fear it will add more work and inconveniences to their daily lives. However, Glooko’s data driven and user feedback learnings show this simply isn’t the case! With that, here are 3 ways remote monitoring tools like Glooko will improve PWD satisfaction and health system efficiency:

1. Easy Diabetes Data Access

Happy Patient: Since the advent of blood glucose meters in the early-1980s, there has been an expectation that PWDs will keep a ‘diabetes logbook’ documenting their blood glucose readings. This responsibility has been a source a stress for many folks, especially when they realize their logbooks are lacking or nonexistent as their doctor’s appointment approaches! With remote diabetes care services, logbooks are no longer a requirement. Simply download your diabetes device data to your smartphone, and the data is ready to to be shared with your healthcare team.

Optimized Health System: Every veteran in diabetes care knows the pain and inefficiency in spending half of a patient appointment trying to interpret the data in a hand written logbook, or trying to make sense of patient data in aggregate when each diabetes device generates its own, proprietary report. Remote diabetes services make patient appointments more efficient by downloading, aggregating, and identifying data patterns for HCP interpretation automagically and then making it available online one easy to read report!

2. Effective “New Insulin/Medication Starts”

Happy Patient: If PWDs need to start an insulin or medication regimen, they’re required to have frequent interactions with their HCP over the proceeding weeks to optimize their regimen (e.g. insulin-to-carb ratio). Currently this requires PWDs to make clinic visits or inconvenient phone calls during which they recite their data values in order to receive feedback. With remote diabetes care, diabetes data is available online and patients can receive insulin/medication advice more easily and frequently!

Optimized Health System: Optimizing new insulin or medication starts without remote diabetes care can take 3-6 months or more because patient interactions are too infrequent. Remote diabetes care solves this problem AND is financially beneficial! On-demand access to patient data streams means that clinicians can give insulin/medication advice to patients more often, and by submitting reimbursement codes for remote monitoring (see: CPT code 99490 for “chronic care management’), health systems get paid for providing better care.

3. Productive “Clinical Incidence” Support

Happy Patient: When PWDs experience a severe hypo or hyperglycemic event, they are at high risk for hospitalization. With remote diabetes care, patients can access coaching from their healthcare team if they’re trending towards these risky incidences and stay healthier. In addition, using event logging and survey features available in mHealth tools like Glooko, when PWDs do experience a hypo or hyper event they can record information on perceived causes and symptoms and understand why the incidents happended in the first place. Using this information, they can have productive conversations about these incidences during their next appointment rather than having to recall details from memory!

Optimized Health System: A T1 diabetes, hypoglycemia-related hospitalization can cost between $18000-$46000! For health systems with a capitated, quality-of-care oriented revenue model, preventing these hospitalizations is good for business and patient outcomes. Remote diabetes care can help prevent hospitalizations because tools like Glooko can automatically identify patients trending towards risk and enable proactive outreach from the health system.

Vikram Singh

Vikram is a Product Analytics & Marketing Manager at Glooko. He's passionate about delivering scalable and accessible solutions for population and environmental health.