After having selected and analyzed 50 studies from all over the world, Canadian researchers found that overall, telecare for patients with diabetis type 2 produces positive results: improved health status, increased quality of care, decreased health service use or cost, increased satisfaction and increased patient knowledge.
The researchers did however identify some caveats: "There is no 'one size fits all' solution. Inexperience with technology combined with a mediocre user interface can create many problems that inhibit appropriate adoption of the technology."
Furthermore they saw "a growing presence of mobile technologies, which provide immediate feedback and can be integrated with social media".
According to researchers, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has become an epidemic growing at an alarming rate. As one of the greatest global public health challenges in the 21st century, T2DM places individuals at risk for several types of complications, including: cardiovascular diseases, kidney diseases, amputations, and diabetic retinopathies.
Although several effective medications are available, overuse of these medications can lead to greater resistance and eventually provoke a worse state of the illness. It is thus essential to carefully manage the care of patients with T2DM; digital technology and telehealth can be of help.
EU-funded projects on this
The European Union is funding several projects on managing diabetes and telemonitoring patients such as AP@home, Commodity12, EMPOWER, MISSION-T2D, MOSAIC and REACTION.
Study: "Using Telecare for Diabetic Patients: A Mixed Systematic Review", Muriel Mignerat, Liette Lapointe, Isabelle Vedel, Health Policy and Technology. Available online 24 January 2014 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hlpt.2014.01.004