Mobile technology has really transformed almost every aspect of our life, including the ways we are able to manage our mental and physical health, find health information, and even gaining access to healthcare. From mobile applications to online patient portals, advancements in technology has truly revolutionized healthcare, allowing for great improvements in the quality of patient care and improving healthcare accessibility.
Mobile health technologies have become very essential for people that have health conditions that require regular monitoring. Especially people diagnosed with diabetes. Statistically, more than 100 million people in the United States of America have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes, and any kind of technology that can help manage this condition will have a big impact on millions of people globally. If you are living with type-2 diabetes, then you know that it is vital to check your carbohydrate intake, get adequate exercise, and monitor blood sugar levels. It is challenging to track all these.
Like most fitness apps, diabetes management apps offer great features that can assist you to keep diabetes under control by simplifying the needed information. Along with tracking exercise, reminding you to assess your blood glucose levels, and logging carbs, these apps offer comprehensive reports that show how you are doing.
What is Mobile Health Technology (mHealth)?
Mobile health technology (mHealth) refers to any kind of portable technology that can be used for healthcare purposes. This can include, wearable fitness technology, certain medical devices, and mobile applications.
Often, these technologies and different devices can be interconnected to allow them to share data directly with relevant end-users like healthcare professionals. This interconnectivity is vital not only to individual patients, but it is also useful in simplifying how health records are stored and accessed by healthcare professionals. Integrating mHealth technologies into people’s daily lives can contribute to new data that can be used to better research.
In the past decade, there has been a great advancement in the field of mHealth technology. These advancements have had a big impact on people’s daily lives. Experts believe that we are in a new age of emerging mobile health technologies, making great strides for healthcare betterment.
How Has Mobile Technology mHealth Revolutionized Healthcare?
Mobile technology has really revolutionized the healthcare sector and how people engage with it. There’re three main ways in which mobile technologies have changed the healthcare system:
I. Personal health monitoring.
People are now able to monitor their own health with convenience, using mobile devices. This was not possible 10 years back. People can do this throughout the day, providing yourself and your personal healthcare provider with a more complete picture of your health.
II. Better communication.
Mobile technologies have allowed people to communicate efficiently and quickly with their personal healthcare providers. People can now make virtual visits to their doctors when they are not able to leave their house or if it is more convenient. Different physicians can now easily share patient information, which can improve healthcare quality.
III. Wearable technology.
Wearable technologies, in particular, are transforming how people manage their health information. Because it’s easier to record and share data with wearable technology, healthcare givers now have easy access to more patient data than ever. This data does not only help improve healthcare but also supports research and healthcare advancements.
And this’s only the beginning. Mobile technology growth is now on an upward trajectory. Researchers are always looking for new ways that mobile technology can be applied in different settings.
Diabetes Mobile Apps.
Mobile health (mHealth) apps are becoming very common in this time and age as they are being used for virtually everything, including exercising, improving mental health, and tracking vital body readings. There’re even a variety of different mobile health apps that are specifically built to assist people better manage their diabetes condition. Most of these health apps can be easily integrated into your daily life and can be connected with your smartwatch, phone, and other mobile technology for easier monitoring and data collection.
Mobile diabetes apps can be categorized into various different groups based on their purposes:
- blood sugar tracking apps
- medication reminders
- general nutrition apps
- fitness & physical activity tracking apps
- menstruation tracking apps
- Anxiety & stress management apps.
These apps can be used even by people who do not have diabetes, while some are specifically designed to help people with diabetes manage and treat their condition.
What are The Key Features to Consider When Picking an App to Manage a Diabetes Condition?
If you have been living with a diabetes condition or are newly diagnosed, your healthcare provider can assist you to prioritize specific areas to focus on when managing your condition and can recommend some few simple apps to help you with that specific purpose
You will also want to consider the overall convenience level of a given technology. Many health apps are rich with useful features, but can very overwhelming. But if you are a tech person who loves data, a more comprehensive app might be the perfect tool for your diabetes management.
Find diabetes devices that can easily integrate with your mobile devices like the glucose meters and insulin pumps that can easily sync useful data to your phone for storage.
Example of Diabetes Management Apps with Their Pros and Cons.
Below is an overview of some popular apps that you can use to manage diabetes.
Note: The apps below are free unless stated otherwise.
This app is simple and user-friendly. You can use it to easily track your blood glucose levels, carb intake, meals, meds, and weight. View your long- and short-term progress with readings going back up to 90 days. The app connects with Fitbit, iHealth Glucometer, Apple Health among others. This helps sync your physical activity and blood sugar readings.
i. Sugar Sense offers a communal support forum for its users with type-2 diabetes and provides diabetes prevention-related information.
ii. This app can be synced with iPhone’s Smart Gluco-Monitoring System.
i. The app does not sync with pumps or CGMs. There’s no communal support forum for those people who have type-1 diabetes.
Cost: It is free
Although Medical ID isn’t a diabetes-specific app, it comes preinstalled on all iPhones and is downloadable freely on Android devices. This app is usually visible on your phone’s lock screen, allowing first aid givers to access vital medical data like emergency contacts blood type and underlying medical conditions, and more. It will not help you manage diabetes, but it’ll alert other people of your underlying medical condition in the event of a diabetes-related emergency like a severe hypoglycaemic event
Pre-installed on Apple devices.
Free to download on Android devices.
Credited with an easy and personalized login screen, the app lets you note down data about your carb intake, meals, insulin use, blood sugar levels, and much more. The app can also sync with Apple Health to get your activity data, with Accu-Check blood glucose meter, the app can offer at-a-glance calculations of your hemoglobin A1C. In addition to that, the app also offers motivating feedback as well as challenges. Medical reports compiled can be easily shared with your physician.
i. Can be integrated with CGMs through the Apple’s Health app and together with the Medtronic’s CareLink data system.
ii. It has a user-friendly interface. Its picture-based user guide can help you get started within minutes.
iii. Its friendly challenges and point system are motivating when you achieve new milestones.
iv. This app generates reports that are very useful to your healthcare giver.
i. MySugr does not sync directly with the blood glucose meters. However, Apple users can use their integrated Scanner to scan and import recorded readings.
ii. MySugr does not sync directly with the insulin pumps.
iii. To generate PDF format health reports, one has to purchase the MySugr PRO paid version.
Free and Paid.
The paid version (MySugr PRO) has a $2.99 monthly subscription, or $27.99 annual subscription.
Paid Extra features include a reminder to check your sugar levels and PDF and Excel format health reports.
This is a nutrition tracking app that evaluates the quality of foods you are eating. This app uses an inbuilt database of barcodes you can scan so you can easily track your macronutrient intake (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins). Fooducate assigns letter grades (A, B, C, D, and etc.) to your food's nutrition quality. This app then offers you alternative recommendations and explanations, plus other tips from professionals so you can make smart choices for your blood sugar management.
Free on iPhone.
Free on Android.
This is a highly rated diabetes app that lets you note down blood sugar, weight, blood pressure, medication, and A1C. From the data collected, it can track trends over time. A detailed food database assists you to record your carbs and meals, and you can also scan bar-codes for extra nutritional information. In addition to that, Glucose Buddy can automatically track your steps and cardiovascular activities, syncs with Apple Health, and enable you to transfer data into PDF reports that can be printed.
i. This app gives important reminders to check your glucose levels and take your medications.
ii. If you are using an Apple device, you can easily register at glucosebuddy.com and sync your data to the website, and send your health reports to your personal healthcare giver via the website or app.
i. This app doesn’t sync with CGMs, meters, or pumps.
ii. Both Apple and Android users can access the glucosebuddy.com website, but only the Apple devices can sync the app with the glucosebuddy.com website. For Android users, they have to input their data on their personal portal manually.
iii. You are not able to back up your personal data
Free with a paid version
Paid Extras include an inbuilt automatic A1C calculator and the ability to produce customizable data with advanced graphics.
This app is FDA-approved, that offers 24/7 real-time education from Certified Diabetes Coaches. This app is available only through prescription from a relevant professional and provides a great range of tailored services to individuals. Once registered, you can obtain personalized services based on your blood glucose, current health, medications, and information related to diabetes.
BlueStar also offers thousands of personalized coaching tips based on your real-time glucose trends and values. This app can significantly enhance your healthcare, particularly if you are having trouble controlling your blood glucose.
This app is intended for people who are 18 and over with type-1 or type-2 diabetes.
Free for iPhone
Free for Android.
To activate BlueStar, you’ll need an activation code from an authorized healthcare giver.
Diabetes Connect is developed by people who have diabetes, this straight-forward, simple app allows you to record your blood sugar, insulin, medication, meals, and much more. You have the freedom to pick the features you desire and turn off those that you do not. Export your data into graphics and reports that can be converted to PDF files. Your data can be synced across numerous devices.
i. Can be used to download and print data and health reports to be shared with your personal healthcare provider.
ii. This app has clear user-friendly graphics of your medical history and blood sugar statistics for proper management of your diabetes condition.
i. This app does not sync with CGMs, meters, or insulin pumps.
ii. Important notification reminders like taking meds are only available to premium subscribers.
Free with the paid version.
Premium subscription is $1.99 monthly and $16.99 annually.
The past decade of developments in mobile technology has brought about unforeseen but amazing results. Mobile tech has not just transformed healthcare; it is in the process of changing the entire healthcare industry. The mobile technology’s impact on diabetes management in particular is profound, extraordinary, and far-reaching. Not only has this technology made treating diabetes significantly easier, but it has allowed for the cloud collection of relevant data that can be used in the field of research.
Diabetes apps aren’t medical devices and they don’t replace regular medical care and physician visits. Talk with your physician on how any app can assist you better control your health.