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UM School of Medicine finds that mobile phone technology helps patients manage diabetes
Date:7/31/2011

duce enough insulin to convert sugar into energy or their cells ignore the insulin. A key measure of blood sugar control is the amount of hemoglobin A1c in a person's blood. A1c is a molecule in red blood cells that binds itself to blood sugar. The higher the level of sugar in the blood, the higher the level of A1c.

An A1c test provides a snapshot of a patient's average daily blood glucose levels over the previous two to three months. The American Diabetes Association recommends that a person's A1c be less than 7 percent. Most Americans with Type 2 diabetes have an average level of more than 9 percent, which greatly increases their risk for complications.

"We tell patients that they can meet these goals if they eat a healthy diet, exercise daily and take their medication as directed, but we don't really give them the tools to do that," says Dr. Quinn.

The yearlong study enrolled 163 patients with the help of 39 primary care doctors in Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Montgomery County and Anne Arundel County. Patients were divided into four groups based on the research assignment of their physician. Three patient groups received mobile phones loaded with the diabetes management software and the fourth group served as a control group. All patients in the study received a free blood glucose meter and testing supplies.

The software examined in the research provided real-time feedback on patients' blood sugar levels, displayed medication regimens and served as a "virtual coach." A patient's blood sugar test results were sent wirelessly from a blood glucose monitor to the mobile phone. If the level was too low or too high, the software on the phone prompted the person to take steps to correct it. The system also analyzed blood sugar levels and other patient information and sent computer-generated logbooks and suggested treatment plans to the patients' primary care doctor.


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Contact: Karen Warmkessel
kwarmkessel@umm.edu
410-328-8919
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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