Technology Tested To Improve Diabetes Care

by Ann Baker

April 19, 2016

What if a solution was found to help individuals with diabetes optimally manage their glucose levels, a challenge that these individuals face daily? Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is working with medical device company Hygieia to find that for patients managing their diabetes.

Why is finding a solution so important? Nearly 30 million Americans are suffering from diabetes and the rates of type 2 diabetes worldwide have quadrupled since 1980 – a trend that’s showing no sign of slowing down. What’s even more alarming is another 86 million adults – more than one in three Americans – have prediabetes.

The issue hits home in our state. Five percent of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s members have been diagnosed with diabetes and approximately one quarter of these individuals are on insulin.

That’s why we joined forces to start a 1,000-patient, one-year pilot in Michigan to study how an insulin guidance system can help Americans with type 2 diabetes manage their glucose levels. The innovative approach combines three very powerful components – cloud technology, personal support and feedback, and clinical guidance. With the device, people with diabetes can work toward achieving their targeted HBA1C immediately rather than waiting for their next visit to a health care provider.

Through our pilot initiative, individuals will receive information that enables them to make personalized adjustments to their insulin doses, enhancing and simplifying their care.

The technology has the potential to not only improve quality of life, but also save costs because inadequate glucose control leads to poor health – including significant short- and long-term complications – and higher prescription and health care costs. Simplifying the process for individuals and their physicians to improve their management of diabetes does more than just improve the health and well being of the patient. Successfully managing and controlling diabetes could also save more than $100 million a year in pharmacy and health care costs if the technology is adopted widely, Hygieia estimates. That’s in Michigan alone.

As someone who has spent more than a decade in the area of wellness and care management, I’m excited to help implement a study that could have a far-reaching positive impact on the lives of many individuals – while helping our health care system become more effective and efficient in managing diabetes.

Ann Baker is Vice President, Wellness and Care Management, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.