Patients and Physicians benefit from Remote Blood Glucose Monitoring

BALTIMORE — Remote access to real-time blood glucose data increased patient engagement in diabetes self-management and improved quality of provider care without impeding office workflow, according to data presented at the American Association of Diabetes Educators annual meeting.

Vivian N. Ayuk, PharmD, CDE, pharmacist and owner of FlexCare Health Solutions and Pharmacy in Washington, D.C., and colleagues enrolled 60 adults with diabetes (age 18 to 64 years, n = 41; age 65 years, n = 19; 42 women; type 2 diabetes, n = 43; type 1 diabetes, n = 7) from a Washington, D.C., primary care practice, a Maryland endocrinology group and the diabetes center at Howard University. Participants agreed to use an iGlucose Cellular Diabetes Care blood glucose meter (Smart Meter) for 90 days and provided baseline blood glucose and HbA1c measurements. Researchers remotely monitored participants’ blood glucose data using the iGlucose Population Management secure web portal for 90 days and collected information on frequency of blood glucose testing, high and low blood glucose readings and changes in average readings from baseline. After 90 days, researchers administered questionnaires to participants and their physicians about ease of use of the system, changes in health behaviors, quality of patient-provider interactions and effect of the remote monitoring on office workflow.

After 90 days, researchers found that blood glucose testing frequency increased by 44%, and all participants shared all blood glucose testing data with their providers.

“As a practice, in all three places, they were not getting 100% of the patient’s data. … We would never have accurate information to make therapeutic decisions,” Ayuk told Endocrine Today. “Now for the 90 days, we got all the data we needed. If we didn’t see blood glucose readings, they didn’t have them, so there was no ambiguity there.”

The data revealed that 70% of participants had blood glucose readings out of range or did not test as often as recommended. Researchers were able to identify hypoglycemic events among 26% of participants and trends for hyperglycemia among 65% of participants and address these conditions immediately with an insulin dose adjustment or additional education at the next visit, Ayuk said.

Patients reported feeling more confidence in talking with providers and family members about diabetes and less isolation in their disease management.

“They were more prepared to talk, they learned more about how food affects their blood sugar, and they were more engaged,” Ayuk said.

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