Diabetes patients have to check their blood glucose levels like some people check their Facebook pages: several times a day.
With the rise of mobile apps that let users log everything from running to restaurant attendance, it seemed natural to Alliance Health Networks, makers of the Diabetic Connect social network, to create an app for people with diabetes to track their personal health records and get support from their friends.
The company today launched a virtual log book for patients to record their blood glucose levels and their HbA1C numbers, which monitor the patients’ average blood glucose levels over a period of 8-12 weeks, throughout the day.
A test group of 100 users have already logged their activities more than 2,000 times: an indication, according to Alliance Health Networks VP of corporate development David Goldsmith, that the patients are using the tool consistently.
The results can be shared with others online, kept private for personal use, or printed out and taken to a visit to the doctor’s office to encourage the good habits that help patients stay healthy.
Diabetic Connect unites 750,000 registered members on the Web or through their iOS and Android devices to talk about their daily health routines with others who are struggling with the same disease, which currently affects 25 million Americans.
In an age when insurance companies can theoretically use social media to dispute benefit claims, it seems risky for patients to talk about their illnesses in a public forum. Fortunately, Diabetic Connect has its users set up community nicknames instead of their real names in order to keep their personal information private.
Do the benefits of mutual support outweigh the risks of oversharing? A recent study showed showed a combined 1.5 percent drop in HbA1C levels among diabetics who actively monitored their glucose at home and then shared their results with their healthcare providers online.
Said Goldsmith, “We believe our app could drive similar results because of the role friends and followers play in a person’s social network.”
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