Monitoring | Viewpoint | Caregiving | Coping | Art of Living | Medications | Fitness
Health on the Move
How mobile technology may usher in a new era of diabetes care | By Erika Gebel, PhD
Did you exercise
;ve times this
week, yes or no?
Let’s try again
This blood glucose
is in your
Did you take your medication, yes or no? YesGood job!
The thing about cell phones is that, for the most part, they’re always with us. They’ve revolutionized our lives, connecting people across the globe. Some 85;percent of U.S. adults have cell phones, and 7;out of 10;use text messaging. As phones have gotten smarter,
the possibilities have grown. One area of rapid growth is mobile
health, which may be a boon for people with diabetes, who are
likely to bene;t from care that goes everywhere.
Health to Go
Mobile health, as de;ned by the National Institutes of Health, uses
mobile technologies as tools and platforms for health research and
delivery of care. Most often the technology is a cell phone, though
blood glucose meters can also qualify (more on that on p. 29).
Mobile technology allows users to send information, such as results
of blood glucose tests, to a centralized program that manages,
tracks, and responds to data. While there are a variety of diabetes
apps that can basically act as mobile logbooks, the crucial
28 AUGUST 2012 Diabetes Forecast
characteristic of this new wave of mobile-health technologies is their responsiveness.
“The opportunity in mobile health is
providing people with actual feedback,”
says Charlene Quinn, PhD, RN, an assistant
professor of epidemiology and public
health at the University of Maryland. “It’s
not just collecting information.” The
feedback can come from a health care
provider or a computer program that
analyzes the patient’s information and
provides pertinent motivational and
There isn’t much good data yet on the
effectiveness of mobile-health technologies,
but the best study to date had some
encouraging results. The July;2011 study in
Diabetes Care tested cell phone–based