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Only 45% of Diabetes Patients Use Mobile Health Tools

- Chronic medical conditions may be better managed with the help of mobile health tools and other technologies. Today, many patients around the country are suffering from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and a wide myriad of chronic health conditions. However, mobile health tools may be able to assist diabetes patients with improving their health and wellness as well as better managing their medical issues.

Mobile Health Apps

The Los Angeles Times even reported that about half of the American population either has diabetes or pre-diabetes. With large numbers of people around the country being diagnosed with diabetes, it grows more important than in prior years to ensure these patients receive the right care and effective tools to better manage this condition.

However, in recent years, the rate of diabetes has plateaued and there is no longer a steady rise as in prior decades of this particular disease. These findings show that federal and state policies aimed at reducing obesity rates along with nutrition and fitness recommendations have begun showing real results among the American population.

“Although obesity and Type 2 diabetes remain major clinical and public health problems in the United States, the current data provide a glimmer of hope,” William Herman and Amy Rothberg of the University of Michigan wrote in a published paper.

Nonetheless, diabetes remains a serious medical concern throughout the country and mobile health tools could play a role in teaching patients how to better manage this condition. A survey released by HealthMine found that nearly three-quarters of patients with diabetes use mobile apps on a day-to-day basis.

However, the results also show that less than half – 45 percent – of these diabetes patients actually track their disease using mobile health tools such as apps. Additionally, more than 70 percent of diabetes patients have to manage an additional medical condition, which is why daily self-care tips and mobile health tools are so important.

The typical mobile apps used by the majority of people with diabetes includes text messaging, Facebook apps, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. However, only 16 percent of those polled use the Diabetes Goals Tracker application.

The survey results also asked diabetes patients as to why they do not use mobile health tools to manage their day-to-day care. About two-fifths of those surveyed stated they “prefer traditional methods” for chronic disease management.

Almost one-third of survey takers stated not knowing which mobile health tools or apps to use in order to better manage their chronic condition. Also, one out of five said mHealth apps are too expensive for everyday use.

Those who do use the apps to track their diabetes care stated their motivations are: health management, self-competition, learning about topics of interest, and competition among friends.

“Diabetes costs Americans $322 billion dollars each year,” Bryce Williams, CEO and President of HealthMine, said in the press release. “Mobile devices and applications can help address this costly pain by arming people with diabetes a 24x7 tool to manage the disease and prevent or control co-occurring illnesses. By understanding and customizing mobile health tools to meet personal preferences, plan sponsors can help lower the burden of diabetes for all, one person at a time.”

Along with mobile health tools, it could also be beneficial for the everyday American to know his or her blood-glucose levels, according to an additional report from HealthMine.

“When it comes to basic biometrics, in America, we are often ignorant, and knowledge equals money in your pocket. Knowing your blood sugar level is the first step to lowering your risk,” Williams explained. “Eating healthy, being active and not smoking could prevent 80 percent of Type 2 Diabetes. Wellness programs can be the lighthouse to detect those who are at risk and steer them out of danger.”

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