AHRQ plans broad review of mobile diabetes management tools
- The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is requesting information on how mobile technologies impact diabetes care as part of a broad review of the issue.
- AHRQ’s Evidence-based Practice Centers, which is conducting the review, plans to supplement its usual manual and electronic database searches with clinical study data provided by the public.
- Submitted materials must be publicly available or able to be posted publicly. A draft of the review will be posted for feedback on the agency’s website.
Diabetes is one of the most costly conditions to treat in the U.S., with medical expenditures reaching $176 million. Close to 30 million Americans — about 10% of the population — have diabetes, and more than 75,000 died from the disease in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With 1.4 million new cases diagnosed each year, CDC predicts one in three U.S. adults will have diabetes by 2050.
From routine blood glucose monitoring to lifestyle training and nutrition, health IT has created new opportunities to reduce diabetes-related spending and improve patient outcomes. Population health is also driving the diabetes management market, creating broad demand for such products.
According to P&S Markets Research, the global needle-free diabetes management market will grow 17.8% year over year to $16.8 million in 2025. Major players include Medtronic, Zogenix and Pharmajet, among others.
Much of the focus in diabetes management is on behavior modification. Omada Health, for example, combines online and mobile phone-based lifestyle education, small group support and individual coaching with a wireless scale and digital tracking tools to gauge patients’ progress.
In a recent study of Medicare beneficiaries, people using Omada saw a 7.5% weight loss as well as improvements in glucose control and cholesterol levels.
A number of tech giants are also trying to crack the diabetes nut. Verily, Alphabet’s life sciences unit, and French drugmaker Sanofi announced a joint venture last year to create tools for diabetes management. The effort is initially focused on type 2 diabetes, but plans to expand in time to type 1 diabetes and people at risk of developing the blood sugar problem.
Elsewhere IBM Watson is using cognitive computing to look for genetic variants and molecular indicators of diabetes, and Apple reportedly has a team of biomedical engineers developing noninvasive sensors that will monitor glucose and help diabetics manage their disease.