First eHealth management programme for diabetes offers patients remote assistance

Atherton 28 September 1999DiabetesWell, a division of Advanced Care Technologies Inc., has introduced the first Internet treatment and management programme ever for diabetes in the United States. Health care is entering the new millennium with the most significant event in diabetes treatment and management since the discovery of insulin in 1921. For the first time in history, patients with diabetes and Internet access will be able to receive on demand, expert care regardless of their geographic location. The eHealth management programme combines the breakthrough treatment methods developed at the renowned Endocrine Metabolic Medical Center in Atherton, California, with the latest Internet and mobile monitoring technology.

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Unlike any other programme available today, the DiabetesWell system is designed specifically for the diabetic patient, with frequent communications taking place between the patients and the diabetes specialists on an on-line interactive basis. The DiabetesWell team of eHealth specialists equally will maintain a communication link to the patient's primary care physician. This unique infrastructure bridges the patient service gap between office visits. The acute focus on the patients' diabetes and its potential costly complications enables the primary care physicians to concentrate on the demands of other patients while collaborating with DiabetesWell on their diabetic patients, according to Dr. Joseph Prendergast.

Dr. Prendergast is a diabetes pioneer and the California Chairman of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. He is convinced that the physicians DiabetesWell is working with, recognise the many benefits of this approach. The programme was developed by Dr. Prendergast and is based on the findings of the National Institute of Health's landmark DCCT study. The new system is the result of 3 additional years of on-line patient care. It is available to anyone living in the United States and includes an individualised treatment plan, a personal Web site for the patient's case history, as well as continuous Internet communications with the patient's eHealth care team.

The service is available for no charge during the first 90 days and integrates a free LifeScan glucose meter, a starter kit of supplies, and also monitoring software. Patients are able to download their glucose data via the Internet and then interact directly with the eHealth medical staff. The team is able to monitor and modify treatments as needed. The DiabetesWell staff has found tremendous acceptance of the programme. Patients really enjoy living well and the clinical outcomes validate this eHealth approach, as stated by Dr. Prendergast.

Diabetes is one of the greatest health problems in the United States and one of the leading causes of death. Sixteen million Americans are afflicted and equally alarming, more than one third doesn't know they have the disease. The complications of diabetes are debilitating and involve heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, amputations, and reduced life expectancy. The American Diabetes Association estimates that 11% of Americans over 40 years of age and 18% of those over 65 have diabetes. It is a very expensive disease, costing the United States economy more than $120 billion per year, second only to heart disease and more costly than cancer.


Leslie Versweyveld

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