According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 20.8 million people in the United States are affected by diabetes. This amounts to around seven percent of the population, which is a fairly large percentage. Many of those with diabetes likely have no health insurance
Jubilee Health Community and NoMoreClipboard PHR are working together to help uninsured manage diabetes, according to a recent press release. The objectives of this include:
- Explore the use of a PHR by rural, uninsured patients with diabetes
- Improve patient health outcomes by providing patients with a PHR to share and track daily glucose readings
- Improve diabetes care management by sharing health information between a clinician and patients using a PHR.
28 diabetes patients of Jubilee Health Community were given a smartphone-enabled version of the NoMoreClipboard PHR about a year ago to assist them in managing their diabetes. Immediate feedback was given when glucose values were entered, and lab results were input within about 72 hours.
These patients and their use of the PHR were monitored over the course of a year, and that findings were interesting. Here are some of the stats that were listed in the press release:
- 37.5 percent of the patients remained actively engaged and regularly entered blood glucose readings via NoMoreClipboard
- Of those 37.5 percent of patients, 28.6 had improved A1C levels and reported feeling better
- Those that did not actively use the PHR, 21.4 percent had no improvement or increased A1C levels
- Of those that did not stay engaged, one of the patients whose A1C level increased suffered an MI.
Diabetes is linked to a host of other health problems, which include adult blindness, kidney failure, non-traumatic amputations, and heart disease and strokes. Obviously, there is a great need for some additional help for these patients, and this PHR seems like it could really do a lot of good. The sample size might not be the greatest to glean the most accurate results on the effectiveness of the PHR, but it does give some insight to indicate it would be worth trying. I think it’s great that some of those who used the PHR regularly did see improvement.
Jeff Donnell, president of NoMoreClipboard, offered some commentary concerning the value of electronic patient engagement:
This project reinforces the value of electronic patient engagement in helping underserved patients manage chronic conditions. Providers are often skeptical that populations including seniors and safety net patients will be able to cross the digital divide and use a PHR. Our experience with rural and urban underinsured patients make it clear that these individuals are looking for tools to help them take a more active role, and they will use those tools when they provide benefit.
In general, I feel like when people are accountable and regularly track information concerning their health (whether it be for diabetes, trying to lose weight, etc.) there will be an increase in their health and well-being. The problem is, it can be very hard to stay on track with systems like this –which is evidenced by the fact that over 60 percent of the people didn’t remain active at the end of the trial period. It raises the question, what can be done to convince people to keep track of their health on things like the NoMoreClipboard PHR?