Smartphone-Based Glucose Monitors and Applications in the Management of Diabetes: An Overview of 10 Salient “Apps” and a Novel Smartphone-Connected Blood Glucose Monitor

According to the American Diabetes Association, the direct and indirect costs of diabetes in the United States have exceeded $174 billion, and there are 25.8 million U.S. children and adults with diabetes.1 Numerous resources are available to help patients increase their role in the management of diabetes while simultaneously improving their metabolic parameters. Although the Internet is a burgeoning source of information and resources, the average patient often lacks the skills for finding and using the most optimal health care information.2

It is important for health care providers (HCPs) to educate patients about the available pragmatic technological resources for the management of their diabetes. Specifically, smartphones have become an integral component of daily life for many people in the United States. In 2011, > 85% of Americans owned and used a mobile phone, and half of those users also had Internet access with their mobile devices.3 The implementation of smartphone applications and tools for the management of diabetes may be an effective option in reducing the progression of diabetes and improving quality of life.

Consistent self-monitoring blood glucose (SMBG) has been shown to be a useful tool in improving glycemic control in type 2 diabetes.4 The use of smartphone applications (“apps”) has already been shown to be a useful method for accurately logging and managing SMBG results. SMBG data that are logged on a smartphone app can be easily reviewed with HCPs to make recommendations about exercise, diet, or medications. A meta-analysis revealed that using SMBG data stored in and/or shared through a PDA (personal data assistant), logbook, the Internet, fax machines, and other innovative technologies, along with consistent feedback from an HCP, enhanced glycemic improvements and reduced hospitalizations.5

The goal of using smartphone apps is to effectively manage diabetes by improving glycemic control and, ultimately, preventing or delaying further complications of diabetes.6 Smartphones or devices such as the iPod Touch and the iPad (sometimes referred to as “iOS devices” for their operating system) offer a variety of diabetes apps that also may be helpful in the management of other aspects of diabetes care such as exercise, carbohydrate counting, and medication adherence.

This article provides a cursory review of 10 salient, easy-to-use smartphone apps that may be useful to patients with diabetes. These applications were chosen by the authors based on their utility and ease of use. It should be noted, however, that there are many more potentially useful available apps not included in this review. We also review a new SMBG technology integrated directly into a smartphone (iBGstar, Sanofi Diabetes, Bridgewater, NJ).

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 Source: http://clinical.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/4/173.full

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