Texting Helps Low-Income Diabetes Patients Manage Insulin Dosing
People whose diabetes requires insulin injections usually have to make a series of visits to the doctor's office to fine-tune their daily dosage. But many low-income patients can't afford to take those few hours off to see the doctor. As a result, they often live with chronically elevated blood sugars for weeks or months until they can find time to get to the clinic.
But mobile technology can help patients with the process of titrating their dosage without them having to see a doctor, according to a study from New York's Bellevue Hospital.
For people with chronic conditions, mobile technology can provide crucial support and lower costs. Doctors have used mobile messaging to prompt hypertensive patients to measure their blood pressure and to remind HIV-positive people to return for regular lab testing. For people tracking their overall health, Apple's new HealthKit makes it easier for different health and fitness apps to exchange data.
So Natalie Levy, an assistant professor at the New York University School of Medicine and head of Bellevue Hospital's Diabetes Program, decided to try mobile technology to help her low-income diabetes patients adjust their insulin doses remotely.
When diabetics initially start taking insulin shots, they need to check their blood sugar at least once a day to make sure their dosage is correct.
Bellevue, which has traditionally served New York's poor, sees about 5,000 diabetes patients a year. In a survey Levy conducted, one patient reported that it often took three to four months to return for each followup visit during the titration phase.
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