Research project on computer-assisted diabetes risk management started

Walldorf 21 August 2008Optimal treatment of diabetes is very difficult to achieve. The obstacles to overcome are varied: expensive treatments, poor patient adherence to treatment plans, insufficient data, etc. With these challenges in mind, a new research project titled "Computer-assisted Diabetes Risk Management" (CDRM) was put in place to examine how eHealth solutions can improve diabetes care.

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The project is a collaboration among several organisations: the eHealth specialist InterComponentWare (ICW), Roche Diagnostics, telematics company GeTeG, the Philipps University Marburg, and the University Medical Center Groningen. The scientific project serves people with diabetes in the Rhine-Neckar region of Germany with a newly developed system consisting of a combination of software solutions and digital devices. By harnessing the power of technology, the project authors hope to improve quality of care to reduce long-term complications of diabetes and strengthen quality of life for people who suffer from the disease.

About 90 percent of diabetes patients suffer from type 2 diabetes. Older individuals are particularly affected by type 2 diabetes. However, in recent years, an increasing number of young people and children are afflicted by the disease. When suffering from type 2 diabetes, the body's cells become more resistant to the effects of insulin. Blood glucose can no longer be transported to the somatic cells in sufficient amounts. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include obesity and sedentary lifestyles.

Diabetes patients have an increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, diabetes related kidney or eye disease and limb amputations. This is why an integrated treatment approach that considers all relevant risk factors is vital when providing good diabetes care.

The Diabetes Risk Management System consists of various software solutions offered by ICW and Accu-Chek blood glucose measurement devices provided by Roche Diagnostics. The components of the risk management system automate data flow and documentation and thus facilitate diabetes management that conforms to current treatment guidelines.

During the course of the study, ICW will provide patients with the personal health record LifeSensor. Roche Diagnostics will supply patients with blood glucose meters - Accu-Chek Aviva and the information management system Accu-Chek SmartPix - free of charge. On a regular basis, patients will measure their blood glucose values at home. Via Accu-Chek SmartPix they will be able to analyse easy-to-understand blood glucose graphs and statistics on their personal computers.

The Roche Diagnostics glucose meters can save up to 400 values. At the patient's next consultation, these data will be transferred to a physician's computer and uploaded to the CDM Diabetes Monitor, a software solution based on ICW's Care and Disease Manager application. The CDM Diabetes Monitor improves management of diabetes patients in the primary care study setting.

In addition to blood glucose data, the CDM Diabetes Monitor collects further information relevant for diabetes patients including basic parameters such as blood pressure, weight, waist and hip size. Moreover, laboratory blood test results are also collected. These data are then transferred via an integrated interface to Roche Diagnostics where it is processed into an Accu-Chek Mellibase risk report. Based on the patient's individual health status, the risk report provides him or her with a 10-year risk prognosis of developing complications related to diabetes. The report also explains how this risk can be reduced by optimizing the patient's diabetes care. This information constitutes the basis for a decision-making process that focuses on the patient's unique health situation.

The Accu-Chek Mellibase report is made available to physicians via the CDM Diabetes Monitor. Likewise, the report will also be stored in patient's personal LifeSensor record.

The study is a prospective, randomized and controlled intervention study. In total 1200 patients with type 2 diabetes will be recruited. These patients range in age between 38 and 68 years. Twenty-four primary care physicians and one specialist will also participate in the study. The research project is scheduled to be completed within 2 years. During the study period, patients will have at least four health check visits at six months intervals.

The concept for the CDRM research project was designed by the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands in co-operation with the Institute of Medical Sociology and Social Medicine at the Philipps University Marburg, Germany.

Accu-Chek is a diabetes care brand in the field of blood glucose self-management from Roche Diagnostics. Besides innovative systems for blood glucose self-control the company in co-operation with leading scientists develops under the brand Accu-Chek a wide brand portfolio of products and services to improve health and quality of life for people with diabetes. Furthermore, the company supports an extensive network of actors in the health care sector by setting up information and care services aiming at long-term optimization of quality of care.

InterComponentWare AG is an international eHealth specialist with locations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, USA, and Bulgaria. ICW's solutions connect the various protagonists in the health care sector and thus improve process-oriented communication and data integrity. This increases the quality of medical care. Its LifeSensor personal health record presents a perfect example, as it opens the way to health for every person.

Networking solutions for hospitals and physicians from ICW Professional Suite facilitate the cross-sector communication of medical data. In addition, ICW provides technologies and services for national eHealth infrastructure projects. As part of the biT4health consortium, ICW has served as an important consultant for the introduction of the electronic health card in Germany. Furthermore, ICW is involved in the eCard project in Austria and has won the public tender for the pilot project to implement the Bulgarian electronic health card.

More ICW news is available in the VMW September 2008 article LifeSensor PHR passes performance benchmark safely. For further information on the scientific evaluation, you can visit the study's homepage.


Leslie Versweyveld

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