MedGizmo: Wearables and Diabetes - Applications (Part II)
This is second post of a series. The first described in general the issue of wearables and diabetes and provided some reference information on non-invasive blood sugar testing developments. Here we are taking a look at Diabetes Applications
Application for wearables are increasing in their number with a terrific pace. Researchers from Norway provide an example: “In July 2009, we found 60 diabetes applications on iTunes for iPhone; by February 2011 the number had increased by more than 400% to 260”
Indeed, when we look at the current statistics, we note that:
Search results on the British searchman.com provide 1,339 applications
While the U.S. appPicker provides 2,081 results
No.1 for paid Apple applications is Diabetes App - blood sugar control, glucose tracker and carb counter for $6.99
No.1 for free is mySugr Diabetes Logbook
For Android top free application is Diabetes:M top paid is: Glucose Meter – Diabetes
According to University of Florida Diabetes Institute there are more than 1,100 iOS and Android apps listed on the Apple App Store and Google Play that are specifically designed for diabetics and healthcare professionals to treat diabetes. The Institute lists some of them on a special dedicated page
Diabetes Tracker apps
Wellness and Health Management apps
HealthLine provides The Best Diabetes iPhone and Android Apps of 2015 that covers
Historic table for best applications is provided in the paper Mobile applications for people with diabetes published between 2010 and 2015
According to the data from research2guidance, diabetes applications are not meeting the expectations of healthcare professionals and diabetic patients. In addition, the acceptance rate and usage of diabetes applications is low.
By the end of 2013, only 1,2% of the diabetics with a capable device use a diabetes app (1,6M users). The main reason is that the majority of applications do not meet best practice standards:
- Rely to a great extent on manual input
- Only a few diabetes apps use gamification elements, supporting design, communication features to get feedback from friends and the physician.
- Traditional healthcare payers have not started yet to integrate diabetes apps into their reimbursement schemes. In their view the quality of the numerous existing clinical studies is not good enough to justify the expenditure.
Read the full article HERE
A very detailed study of applications for diabetes is provided by CDC in this paper: Evaluating Diabetes Mobile Applications for Health Literate Designs and Functionality, 2014
Some of the observations are:
The most common types of diabetes apps are:
- Health tracking
- Self-monitoring tasks (recording blood glucose levels, insulin levels, and medication use)
- Insulin-dose calculators
- Physician-directed apps
- Food reference databases
- Social forums or blogs
- Exercise apps
The author of the paper provides this guidance for section of the right application (the interview to Medscape )
- Patients could look for apps with higher star ratings than the average 3.4.
- Look at the sample screens and the app description to determine whether the terminology is familiar and understandable.
- Read user comments for the apps
Another useful hint for selection of the right application comes from the study Popular Glucose Tracking Apps and Use of mHealth by Latinos With Diabetes: Review/
So, here is the list of features that are essential for glucose monitoring
The results of this study show some important requirements for glucose tracking applications:
The price of apps ranged from free up to ten dollars with the average price of paid apps being approximately $5.03. The average price for iPhone apps ($6.39) was higher than that for Android apps ($3.66).
Activity logs (85%) were the most prevalent documentation functionality followed by insulin logs (80%), weight logs (75%), and carbohydrate logs (70%). While 80% of the apps reviewed included insulin administration logs, only 65% included logs for oral or injectable noninsulin medications. Carbohydrate and food logs (70% and 65%, respectively) were featured more often than calorie logs (30%).
Data export via e-mail was present on 80% of apps while social media connections were featured on 65%. Fewer than a third of apps allowed users to upload their data to online app-sponsored accounts.
Twenty percent of apps permitted download of blood glucose measurements from a glucometer. The prevalence of this functionality was equal for both Apple and Android apps.
More information on HOW mobile applications should look like is provided in this poster from RUTGERS University - Criteria for developing the ideal diabetes mobile application
This concludes the second post of our series. More to come
Image by MedGizmo