A review of data presented at ATTD 2022 dissects which features of smartphone apps created to improve diabetes management actually contribute to improved glycemic control.
The rapid integration of continuous glucose monitoring technologies has spawned a wave of innovation within these technologies. Among the most recent additions to the equation are smartphone apps aimed at optimizing the use of CGM technologies in patients with diabetes.
As the market for CGM devices becomes increasingly competitive, manufacturers have sought to outdo each other by providing users with advanced technologies and features, such as smartphone apps, with their CGMs. Today, a study presented at the 15th International Conference on Advanced Technologies and Therapeutics in Diabetes (ATTD) offers insight into the features of a diabetes smartphone app that have been linked to improvements in glycemic control and those that bring no benefit.
“The goal of the project featured in the poster was to explore the effects of specific features in apps for people with type 2 diabetes on glycemic control, although the diabetes app has the potential to support the glycemic control in type 2 diabetes, there is a lack of evidence regarding the effect of individual app characteristics on glycemic control,” said study presenter Julie Egmose, MSc, of the University of Aalborg, during its presentation at ATTD 2022.
Although the companies have focused on making their most attractive CGM devices and product offerings to market, Egmose and his colleagues at Aalborg University designed the present study to address current gaps in knowledge related to which features might offer the most benefit in terms of improving glycemic control. . With this in mind, the researchers designed their study as a review of data from the PubMed, EMBASE and CINAHL databases.
From a systematic literature search of these databases, the investigators identified a total of 437 records for potential inclusion in their study. After excluding duplicates and applying the inclusion criteria, a total of 13 full-text articles were assessed for eligibility and 7 were ultimately included in the investigators’ analysis. The study inclusion criteria required studies to recruit patients with type 2 diabetes, assess the functionality of diabetes mellitus management apps, and assess blood glucose as an outcome of interest. In addition, these studies had to have been published in English, Danish, Swedish or Norwegian. Articles were excluded if the results were not split by type of diabetes and app functionality was not split in the results.
Of the 7 studies identified for inclusion, a total of 5 application features were identified. These included feedback mechanisms, a glucose monitoring and feedback system, gamification, biofeedback-assisted relaxation, and diabetes education. Of note, several feedback mechanisms were evaluated, including an insulin titration algorithm with an immediate feedback mechanism and feedback from healthcare professionals.
On analysis, the results of the investigators’ analyzes suggested that only 3 of the characteristics assessed were associated with significant improvements in glycemic control c. These features were monitoring and feedback system, gamification and diabetes education.
“Overall, it appears that the diabetes app should contain gamification educational functionality and data sharing functionality with healthcare professionals to improve glycemic control. However, more evidence is needed to determine the effect of individual features in apps on diabetes,” Egmose added, during the latter parts of his presentation at ATTD 2022.
This study, “Which Diabetes App Features Improve Glycemic Control in Type 2 Diabetes?” A Scoping Revie”, was presented at ATTD 2022.