Diabetes Management Goes Mobile Term Paper

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Diabetes Management Goes Mobile

Diabetes is, "a disease that affects nearly 21 million people -- about 7% of the United States' population -- including 1 in every 8 African-Americans. And while diabetes has no cure, new high-tech tools -- as well as good, old-fashioned, hands-on education -- are being used in an effort to make it easier to manage the deadly disease." (Chappell, 2006, p. 158) Diabetes management has been a monumental challenge since diabetes was first identified as a disease that could be effectively treated in the long-term. (Jones, 2006, p. 132) Many individuals have problems with treatment compliance and managing diabetes from a medical standpoint can be complicated and ever shifting, depending on many external factors as well as issues involving medication dosage changes and difficulty managing blood sugar testing on a regular basis.

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Medical technology has increased the ease of use of monitors as well as developed insulin delivery systems that are more natural to the body and can be easily programmed for changes in the regimen, yet until the last few years private individual technology advances have not seriously impacted diabetes management. ("Delivering a Better Deal," 2005, p. 29) (Chappell, 2006, p. 158) in a world where handheld personal electronic devices, such as PDAs, laptop computers and cellular telephones can potentially dictate many hours of our day through reminders and scheduling software, it is not surprising that such technology would be utilized to help manage diabetic care. (Chinnery, 2006, p. 9) With the increase in private technology has come a revolution of resources with regard to technological reminders and tracking devices that can assist the diabetic patient, or his or her care givers in maintaining a streamline treatment regimen. It is not surprising that a leading technology company has created a system that can interface with a smart phone to assist patients in diabetic management. ("Diabetes Management Goes Mobile" January 25, 2007, Health Data Management online)

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London-based Think Positive Diabetes Wireless, has created an interactive system that allows patients to input data into a smart phone and receive graphed results of changes in blood sugar, as well as allowing the individual to add food, activities and insulin information to allow the system to be holistic. Lastly the subscriber system has trained medical professionals who can review information and give the client information about how to better manage their care. ("Diabetes Management Goes Mobile" January 25, 2007, Health Data Management online) Though this is not the first high tech system to be designed to assist diabetic patients with monitoring and health care management, (Chappell, 2006, p. 158) it is the first to include cell phone technology, in addition to personal computer technology to assist the patient. This makes serious since given that diabetes management is something that is done continually, throughout the day and one of the most important aspects of diabetic management is being able to lead a healthy active life, with diabetes as to maintain health longer and avoid some of the side effects of the long-term disease. Making the technology mobile, then is foundational to this goal.

Diabetes was the sixth leading cause of death and contributed to approximately 210,000 deaths in 1999. (1) Although daily diabetes care is demanding and acute metabolic decompensation poses a substantial risk to the patient, long-term complications are responsible for most of the morbidity and mortality associated with the disease. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults 20 to 74 years of age. (2) Diabetes is also the single most common cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in the United States. (3) Diabetic nephropathy accounts for approximately one-third of all cases of ESRD, and evidence of nephropathy will develop in 20% to 30% of patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. (3) About 60 to 70% of people with diabetes have moderate to severe forms of nervous system damage resulting in peripheral or autonomic neuropathy. (1) the risk of death from cardiovascular disease is two to four times higher in patients with diabetes when compared to the general population. (4) (Andrus, Kelley, Murphey & Herndon, 2004, p. 29)

Additionally the inclusion of the human element, with the investment of medically trained diabetic councilors, to assist the client in management and improvement also seriously plays on the need for greater personal access to specialized care for the disease. According to Chappell many diabetics are not e4ven aware that there are specialist councilors who are trained to deal specifically with their needs, and many do not see endocrinologist specialists, but instead are managed by their primary care physician, who may not understand all the ins and outs of the disease. (2006, p. 158)

The system is described more fully on the company website, at www.thinkdiabetes.com.The system is called t+Diabetes and consists of a system that allows the patient to input data from monitoring and answer several questions about management to receive instant feedback electronically detailing a greater overall picture of the situation. The individual can then skip the frequently labourous process of analyzing data, based on their own informed understanding of needs and allow the sytem to tell them what their pattern is. This pattern then develops into a profile which can help the patient better understand what they are eating or doing that is effecting their blood glucose level on a daily basis (not always the same for everyone) and help themselves to change such habits, where needed to better control the frequent peeks an valleys of the disease, which in time create long-term complications, including blindness, extremity circulation depletion and insulin or sugar shock, and even sudden death among others (t+Diabetes online)

The system includes a blood glucose monitor (OneTouch® Ultra® meter) a smart phone cell phone and depending upon the model of phone a BlueTooth TM cradle or a data cable. The patient sends his or her results to the system and then can read those results via their phone or from the secure website, which also offers many links to further information and professionals who can help interpret results and offer advice to the individual about management care or needed changes. The patient also receives monthly reports and can even order prescriptions online. The patient then receives both immediate and collected results that can greatly improve their chances of successfully managing their diabetes care. (t+ How it Works Online)

Though this is one of the first companies to introduce such a comprehensive plan, and ther is some cost to the patient, it is likely that such programs will be available from other sources, for more nominal fees at a later date. The importance of integrating such information is paramount to success, but h as previously only been available to the individual in a non-mobile format and often with the expenses of seeking specialized professional assistance, where it is available. The merging of personal technology (handheld) and diabetic management care is a crucial step in the overall global management of the disease, which seems to be growing at epidemic rates, especially in the U.S. And Europe. (Chappell, 2006, p. 158)

Currently the regulation system of such technology is self-based as there are no specific laws or regulations that mandate regulation, other than standard technology-based regulations associated with the FCC for mobile technology. The system has seemed to effectively respond to the security needs of patients, to the level that security and privacy are essential to all mobile technology, currently. There is limited information regarding the financials of the company Think Positive Diabetes Wireless, as it is relatively new to the scene and has not developed a public standing as of yet, but this is likely in the future, as company awareness grows and the system is recognized for its many benefits to the individual, and especially the individual living in an area with limited diabetic network resources.

The broader application of a mobile disease management network is exponential, as more and more people seek to marry the convenience of wireless technology with personal needs, specific to health care as well as many other issues. This service could serve as a model for care of many other disease management systems. As has been mentioned before the cost of such mobile technology will also likely decrease as more companies and/or organizations recognize the value of interpretive management programs for the care of chronic diseases, as many are exacerbated by stressors that individual may not even be aware they are placing on their bodies and health.

Research has shown that a computer-based program can be a valuable resource to augmenting diabetes education efforts" says Susan G. Brink, president of D.C.-based HealthMark Multimedia. "Computer-based programs provide accessible, self-paced study and ongoing support to people with diabetes. This ongoing support [is] a factor in improving diabetes outcomes." (Chappell, 2006, p. 158)

Though Think Positive Diabetes is new on the scene it is likely to become a benchmark for such mobile technology in the future, and may serve to allow medical professionals and other individuals, managing… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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