Disclaimer: This is a guest blog post by researcher Lydia Montandon (Atos, Spain), REACTION project coordinator
According to the World Health Organization, diabetes affects around 347 million people worldwide and the prediction is that it will be the 7th leading cause of death in 2030. Those figures are appalling, and we should take action towards reducing them, starting from answering to these questions:
- Are we able to manage insulin dosing of hospitalised patients properly to avoid further complications?
- Do we know how to manage the health of people who don’t know (or don’t want to know) that they have diabetes?
Those were two major challenges that we have been facing in the context of the REACTION project. The project has made a great effort to design and develop tools that are really useful and practical for health professionals today. It appeared that applying the most advanced technology was not always the most efficient and practical solution for immediate use. So we introduced the technology step by step, in a way to ‘tame’ patients and healthcare professionals. As soon as evidence showed that there were clear benefits and technology was perceived as friendly to the user, we started introducing more advanced technologies, complex algorithms and new devices and sensors, taking into account important factors such as safety and security of information.
After piloting the different tools and applications in different clinical scenarios, the main results were that in hospital, insulin dosing appeared to be more accurate and therefore glucose data were kept in a better range compared to standard care, and in the General Practice, patients were able to have more informed discussions with their physicians about their treatment and the behaviour they shall adopt to improve their condition.
In REACTION, we have been able to show that the technology had the potential to significantly improve processes both in hospital and in primary care practice, and we are proud to acknowledge that one of the developed applications, the REACTION GlucoTab®, a mobile system to improve insulin dosing for patients with type 2 diabetes in hospitals, has been awarded a research prize by the government of the federal state of Styria in Austria.
Significant progress is being made to improve continuous tight glucose monitoring for a better management of diabetes. However there are still some open questions, which are at the core of the next research steps, such as: How much do you think one can rely on health monitoring systems? How often and under which conditions would you accept your vital signs and other factors to be monitored? How much time do you think healthcare professionals should dedicate to monitoring remotely patients’ data?
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