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Clinical Study Evaluates a Remote Glucose Monitoring Program to Help People With Poorly Controlled Type 2 Diabetes

Newly published data of a randomized crossover trial of T2D patients at UMass Memorial

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People with poorly controlled Type 2 diabetes (T2D) have an increased risk of serious health complications and incur higher healthcare costs. Self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) is a critical component of diabetes self-management with proven beneficial outcomes. Technology advancements in blood glucose monitoring devices, including those with cellular capabilities and continuous glucose monitors, allow for improved sharing of SMBG data. Real-time sharing of SMBG data with healthcare professionals allows for timely support for patients when their blood glucose is recorded as dangerously high or low.

A newly published study in the online journal JMIR Diabetes evaluated a remote monitoring program for people with poorly controlled T2D. Patients were provided with coaching from diabetes educators who monitored readings of patients’ blood glucose each time they tested and contacted them if their blood glucose was dangerously high or low.   

The clinical study was a collaborative effort between UMass Chan Medical School and UMass Memorial Health. It was led by Daniel Amante PhD, MPH, assistant professor of population & quantitative health sciences, in collaboration with UMass Memorial endocrinologists David Harlan, MD and Michael Thompson, MD. 

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Daniel Amante, PhD          David Haralan, MD          Michael Thompson, MD

The study was designed for UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence (DCOE) patients who had hemoglobin A1c levels above 8% for at least one year prior. Participants were given an In Touch connected glucose meter and enrolled in the Livongo for Diabetes Program. Livongo’s Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (CDCES) monitored the SMBG data and called or texted participants within three minutes of their blood glucose going outside of target range. The patients and diabetes educators also met for scheduled sessions that covered the seven self-care behaviors for managing diabetes effectively: healthy eating, physical activity, glucose monitoring, taking medication, problem solving, reducing complication risks, and healthy coping.

The study’s 120 participants were separated into two groups. One group received the extra coaching for six months, then returned to usual care from their UMass Memorial endocrinologist and/or primary care physician. The other group received their usual care for the first six months of the study and then received six months of the extra care.

Data analysis showed both groups experienced similar improvements to their A1c. A treatment satisfaction questionnaire also revealed a similar positive response throughout the study. “My overriding interpretation of the study’s results is that individuals with diabetes achieve better outcomes with ongoing supervision and support,” said Dr. Harlan, co-director of the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence. “The healthcare system’s challenge, therefore, is to develop practices that can deliver that supervision and support.”

To learn more about the study in greater detail, you can view the published article here.

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