Greetings from the annual meeting of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) in sunny, hot and sizzling Las Vegas. Thousands of us gathered in the city of sin to network and learn what is new and exciting in the field. And today I want to share some of what I learned with you.
So much of the conference focused on cost and new technologies. And how new technologies can help drive cost down.
We all know diabetes is spiraling out of control with more than 430 million people projected to have diabetes by the year 2030.
That’s a lot of people. Unfortunately, the growth rate for endocrinologists is not keeping up; nor is the liquidity of Medicare and Medicaid.
Can technology fill the gap?
The talk on the street is about using web-based technologies and Smartphone apps to have patients log, send and receive information about their blood glucose over the internet in both real and delayed time.
Some of this technology exists now—programs from the pump companies allow you to download pump and meter logs and give your health care providers access to your results at your discretion. There are “email-like” programs that allow you and your provider and educator to see your blood glucose, blood pressure and other lab results and give you feedback in almost real time. And camera phones that would allow you to see your provider while you talk with them.
These types of technologies would have positive benefits: doctors and educators could “see” more patients and patients wouldn’t have to drive long distances or spend hard-earned dollars on exorbitant parking fees.
At present, these types of “visits” are not reimbursed by insurance companies. Financial systems are often way behind technological advances. And there is another problem. What about the soft side of medicine and education. Do we lose something when people don’t meet face to face? Will patients feel as comfortable discussing delicate personal matters over the internet?
Let us know:
Are you in favor of fewer face to face visits with your healthcare provider but more regular contact over the “digital highway” with them?
Do you think higher-tech is the future of diabetes care?