Frequent readers of Health Tech Insider will know that I often bang the drum calling for more scientific evidence that wearables and other mobile health technology can actually produce the improved health outcomes and reduced costs that many of us (reasonably) expect from them. The good news is that the studies keep pouring in, and in almost all cases, the results are positive.
The latest exhibit in this string of successes is the announcement of results from two studies from Glooko, a company specializing in diabetes data management. The studies are “retrospective,” which means that they are based on an analysis of data that has already been collected rather than set up a new study and waiting to accumulate sufficient data. The studies examined the impact of Glooko’s smartphone app that is designed to help patients manage their diabetes.
The results showed that after two months of using the app, average blood glucose levels dropped by 3.54% compared with patients who were not using the app. The probability of experiencing an hyperglycemic event was reduced by 4.38% for the mobile app users. Perhaps the most telling result was that the app users increased their blood test rate between 16% and 35%; the increased testing was tied to lower average blood glucose levels.
While the studies spanned five years’ worth of data, they only looked at the results after two months of mobile app use. It’s possible that the novelty of the technology might have an influence on the results; it would be interesting to see whether the gains held up over a year or two. All the same, the studies do present additional encouraging evidence about the value of mobile health technology.