Technologies including continuous glucose monitors and smart insulin pens are profoundly transforming diabetes care, using less invasive methods to collect more comprehensive real-time data from people with the condition. These technologies are generating vast sets of real-time data, containing insights that have the potential to improve diabetes management outcomes. But healthcare providers may be wondering – how?
Real-Time Data Can Have a True Impact on Diabetes Management
We can harness real-time data to uncover psychological barriers to diabetes care and provide precision-targeted therapeutic guidance. One psychological barrier common to diabetes management is fear of hypoglycemia, which can cause people to take insulin doses that are lower than what may be needed. We see an opportunity for connected insulin delivery devices, software and analytics to translate real-time data from connected technology into dosing recommendations that may help alleviate the fear of too much insulin causing hypoglycemia.
Medication adherence for many chronic illnesses is only at about 50 percent, which can have devastating consequences.1 We believe that digitally enabled care products and solutions that give people on-demand personalized information, actionable insights and support may be able to help them overcome psychological barriers, improve adherence, lead to more productive doctor visits and reduce healthcare costs. We’re seeing through our research that people with diabetes who use connected technology are learning about the impact of different activities and foods on their blood sugar, thanks to the real-time data collection capabilities of their devices.
Remembering all the factors that impact blood sugar and manually logging numbers, carb intake, insulin doses and dose times can be mentally exhausting for people, potentially resulting in missed doses and other mistakes that can jeopardize people’s health. In a study of dosing behavior and boluses that used connected technology, many people on multiple daily injection therapy were missing their doses.2 Having access to real-time data can help clinicians and people on multiple daily injection therapy identify barriers to optimal dosing.
When meeting with healthcare providers, people with diabetes may spend more time reviewing their manual logs than having conversations about better ways to manage their diabetes. And if the logs are incomplete or contain incorrect information—which can easily happen with manual entry—the conversations are based on inaccurate data. By logging glucose numbers and collecting other metrics such as the amount of time spent in target blood sugar range, smart devices leverage real-time data to provide insulin dosing recommendations, which can help reduce the burden on people with diabetes. With the help of smart devices, healthcare providers and patients can have conversations based on accurate data and work to reach target blood sugar goals.
Real-time data may help people with diabetes and their care teams achieve better outcomes. We ultimately hope to leverage the wealth of real-time data that smart devices collect to provide proactive dosing guidance for people, helping them avoid hypoglycemia in the future and understand fluctuations in their blood sugar. At Lilly, we are currently working on a prototype app which will leverage real-time data from a CGM, exercise monitor and heart rate monitor to provide exercise recommendations for people that have a glucose-neutral impact. As we continue to invest in personalized solutions for diabetes management, we will focus on harnessing the power of this valuable resource.