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Jubilee Health Community and NoMoreClipboard Combine Forces To Help Diabetes Patients

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?

December 20, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

App Developers Urged to Consider Older Generations

Earlier today, I was involved in a discussion about technology, and how “older generations” have a harder time understanding, or even wanting to be involved, in the latest innovations. As I listened to others talk about this topic, I couldn’t help but think about how often I see articles in the health care IT world concerning this very idea. Older doctors are hesitant to embrace EMRs. Smart phone apps can be confusing for someone who grew up with a phone that you had to spin the dial to call anyone (and, well, they can be confusing for me too!). We came to the conclusion that most of us just don’t like change, and someday, when we’re being told we need to “get with the times,” we’ll be longing for the early days of smart phones and technology.

Anyways, after this discussion, I was reading the latest articles over at Fierce Mobile Health Care, and came across one that seemed pertinent to the topic. Apparently, quite a few of the diabetes apps have posed some problems for older users. The article cites a study that was done that analyzed three different diabetes tracking apps that had a 4 star rating or above. The researchers discovered that “for people with declines in cognition, vision, and motor skills, they can be difficult to use — which might lead to a stop in their use entirely.”

Because of this study, the researchers, North Carolina State University’s Laura Whitlock and Anne McLaughlin, are hoping to convince app designers to consider the needs of older users when developing apps. They found that many of the problems in the three apps analyzed were easily fixed, but if they weren’t fixed, many older users would have a hard time using them.

There has been a lot of success with diabetes tracking and adherence apps, especially with people ages 13 to 19. However, because diabetes is a disease that many older people have, it would be nice if these apps could be made more accessible to them. They need to be simple. The text needs to be bigger, and the colors must be easy to read. It may not seem like a big deal to a teenager, or young adults, but for someone who hasn’t been raised with this kind of technology — it makes a big difference.

I do hope that app developers will take the needs of this “older generation” in mind as they create apps. Maybe two different versions could be made — a more “advanced” version, and a simple one. I believe that many people could benefit from health apps, and they should be easily usable by everyone. Obviously, some apps can be designed towards people who are more tech savvy. But for apps that deal with diseases that may affect a large demographic of people, some of the suggestions made in this article should be taken into consideration.

September 14, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.