Technology can help people manage Type 2 diabetes in real time
March 3, 2018 | 7:31 PM
by Courtesy of Brandpoint
Diabetes coaches help participants interpret the transmitted data and give guidance on how to change behaviour.

There is no disputing that digital health technology and connected devices can produce massive amounts of data. But that data, on its own, is not always particularly useful. The real value comes from translating that data into personalised and actionable information and putting it into the hands of people, in real time, whose health might depend on those facts and figures.

UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage members with Type 2 diabetes may be eligible to utilise new wearable technology to help monitor their glucose levels 24/7 via the convenience of a cellphone. They can also connect directly with a health coach to seek individual support, share information and make behaviour changes to improve their health.

Announced in mid-January with DexCom, Inc., the leader in continuous glucose monitoring, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, this innovative pairing - high-tech, real-time wearable monitors with direct access to diabetes coaches - will be available to eligible plan participants across multiple regions throughout this year.

Here's how the blend of high-tech and high-touch care supports people managing Type 2 diabetes:

1. Dexcom's Mobile Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (CGM) technology consists of a sensor - usually worn on the abdomen - that continuously reads glucose levels just beneath the skin.

2. A transmitter sends the data to a smartphone, which processes and displays updated data every five minutes and can reveal relationships between eating, exercise and blood sugar that are difficult to observe with only test strips and a glucose meter.

3. Diabetes coaches help participants interpret the transmitted data and give guidance on how to change behaviour pertaining to nutrition and exercise to help keep glucose levels in a safe range.

4. Participants also receive an activity tracker to help them understand and act upon data gathered by the wearable device.

5. Glucose data summaries can be shared with participants and their primary care providers to help foster better care coordination, which ideally may result in increased glucose control, reductions in medications and an empowered approach to managing diabetes.

"With more than 27 million people in the US living with Type 2 diabetes, there is urgent need to address this epidemic in new ways," said Brian Thompson, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement. "Continuous glucose monitoring can be a game changer for people enrolled in our Medicare Advantage plans, as the data can be translated into personalised information that can be acted upon in real time."

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