Bridging the Diabetes Knowledge Gap Through Technology

ConnieChitwoodVuBy Connie Chitwood-Vu, VP of Clinical Services, Telcare
Twitter: @CChitwoodVu

Many Americans fail to realize that diabetes is the seventh deadliest disease with 29.1 million Americans currently living with this condition. Despite the severity of diabetes, the general population has a striking knowledge gap when it comes to understanding the causes, impacts, costs and treatment options for this all-to-common disease. In fact, 63 percent of people are unaware of the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and most people do not know that type 2 diabetes is entirely preventable. Digital health technology provides a golden opportunity for patients and their advocates to take the reins on their condition by using connected devices and health apps to empower themselves and make a difference in their health. However, before these tools can be successfully implemented, a significant amount of education about diabetes and how technology can help manage it must occur.

What You Don’t Know Could Cost & Kill You
A recent National Diabetes Awareness Index from Telcare, Inc., revealed the knowledge gap is just as dire for those living with diabetes as it is for the general population. Nearly one in 10 Americans suffers from the disease, but more than half (57 percent) of the U.S. population isn’t aware that it can lead to other major health issues including kidney failure, lower limb amputation, blindness, heart disease and reduced cognitive ability. The numbers are troubling when it comes to repercussions of the disease. For patients and caregivers, opening the lines of communication with physicians could enable better health management and potentially reduce long-term health issues and expenses. Increased communication also leads to increased patient engagement and actionable data, leading to more successful outcomes down the line.

Turning to New Tools & New Technology
Technology is the tool people living with diabetes and their support systems can use to enact change. More than half (52 percent) of Americans report trusting technology to monitor their chronic diseases like diabetes, and 88 percent of the population would like to have access to real-time data when managing this condition. People living with diabetes are particularly ready for the change, as the majority (85 percent) want to use technology to track their wellness and living habits, making it easier to achieve better health management. In fact, people living with diabetes are two times more likely to connect with physicians because of health apps – 65 percent of people want doctors to incorporate technology into their health plans and 71 percent report they would use technology to proactively monitor their fitness goals.

It’s time for technology to make a real impact on health especially when it comes to monitoring chronic diseases like diabetes. Technology helps foster stronger patient-doctor connections, actionable data and can help educate patients with diabetes and those who support them. Using technology in diabetes management no longer makes treatment a guessing game as it empowers patients, making real support and progress all possible!

About the Author: Connie is a Certified Diabetes Educator and serves as the VP of Clinical Services at Telcare. A sales, clinical and management professional with more than 15 years of clinical and sales experience in the diabetes commercial field, Connie has direct patient experience as a Certified Diabetes Educator as well as industry experience in corporate training, customer call Center training, development of internal and external electronic training and Phase II medical device clinical trials.