AT&T Inc. (T) announced yesterday that a pilot mobile health program using wireless technology to help diabetes patients has shown promising results.
AT&T mHealth Solutions presents DiabetesManager is a partnership between WellDoc Inc., and AT&T.
Patients are able to enter blood glucose readings into the DiabetesManager mobile application or web site, which produces a real-time message with information relevant to that level. If the blood glucose level is very high or very low, the software provides trouble-shooting tips and a reminder to recheck in an appropriate amount of time. The FDA-cleared solution can also send alerts to a care manager.
The mHealth program involved 156 employees of Health Care Service Corp. (HCSC), the largest customer-owned health insurer in the U.S. and fourth-largest overall. The company operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma.
“When a physician sees a patient with diabetes, we ask them to come back and see us in six to eight weeks for a follow up visit, ‘just in case’,” wrote Dr. Geeta Nayyar, AT&T’s chief medical information officer, in the company’s enterprise business blog. “The reality right now is that the doctor doesn’t have any insight into what happens to those patients when they go home. They don’t actually know if they need to come back in six to eight weeks, or in two weeks.”
mHealth solutions like DiabetesManager, she added, “enables healthcare providers and caregivers to really have insight into what is happening with a patient at home or on the move and bridge that gap.”
In an online survey, the pilot participants gave feedback that indicated:
- 88% found DiabetesManager to be a “highly useful” health management tool.
- More than 90% would recommend it.
- 75% would continue using it.
AT&T has introduced the DiabetesManager product to its own employees. The application has also been utilized by Medicaid provider Centene in Ohio.
AT&T received the 2011 Frost & Sullivan Competitive Strategy Leadership award for its approach to mHealth. The company has said that it generated nearly $5 billion in revenue from the healthcare industry in 2010, including businesses such as hospitals, insurers, pharmaceutical companies, suppliers and physicians.