Diabetes Apps and Computer Programs Don’t Help, Really?


This morning I read an article in Reuters about how a new report being published has found that “Computer and mobile phone programs that provide tailored advice and support to people with diabetes may not do much to improve their health and quality of life”. The report, based on 16 studies, found that people with diabetes who used these apps and programs did not manage there disease any better than those who did not and although “Some studies hinted that the interventions increased people’s knowledge and confidence, they did not alleviate depression”.

In other words, what the report says is that all of the diabetes apps and programs being created are not helping anyone.



At first this pissed me off a little, I mean, who’s to say that a tool that makes life a little easier, even if not significantly improving your A1c, isn’t doing anyone any good. But then I remembered my one attempt at using a diabetes app.

It was a while ago, after Karmel Allison interviewed the creators of LogFrog DB, Elon Danziger and Yelena Rubinshteyn, I decided to try the app (one of many diabetes apps available to help people with diabetes manage their disease).

I liked the app. I enjoyed the graphics and I thought the interface was easy to use. I also liked the fact that it wasn’t serious, it had a fun edge to it – something I think people with diabetes need, well at least I do. The one thing I did not like about the app was that I couldn’t download the data onto a spreadsheet.

But did the app help me?

No. It didn’t because I didn’t really need it. I had a pump, where I recorded all of my carbs, blood sugar measurements and insulin intake. So as nice as the app was, it felt like just another extra thing to do. So quickly, once playing with the interface got old, I stopped using it.

But not everyone uses an insulin pump, and many people record their blood sugar and insulin intake on paper, especially when first diagnosed. I know I did.

I don’t think that having an app, back then, would have made me a better diabetic, as far as the doctors were concerned, but it would have certainly made life a little easier for me.

I can’t argue with numbers (in the report), but I think that they don’t always provide a full picture. I believe that most people who manage their diabetes well, would do so with or with out diabetes apps, programs and even community. But there are many aspects to living with diabetes an A1c does not cover.

Making life easier, convenient and fun is important too.

There’s no doubt that real help, for those unable to control there own disease, will not come out of a diabetes app, but if there was no need for them people would stop creating them, buying them and using them.

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