App pros & cons 

A debate on the usefulness of diabetes apps led to more attendees questioning their worth.  

The online webinar saw two experts discussing the pros and cons of the use of smartphone apps to help manage diabetes. At the start of the debate, 91% of the 57 diabetes professionals agreed with the premise, ‘Are Diabetes Apps Worth It?’ However, this fell to 83% at the end of the debate. 

Arguing for the con side, Josip Car, Director of the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Digital Health and Health Education at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, said that studies showing the effectiveness of diabetes apps have been “disappointing” and that there are issues around data privacy. 

However, he did acknowledge that “there is no denying the usefulness of apps,” and that “they work for certain patients.” 

Taking the pro side, endocrinologist David Ahn, Program Director, Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center, California, agreed that the use of apps might not translate into better patient outcomes. 

However, he did state that apps can provide high-quality data that can be exchanged from patient to clinician, they enable telemedicine, and they can give patients access to a social support network.  

Both agreed that clinicians would benefit from a type of ‘independent clearinghouse’ that would identify the best diabetes apps. 

Going forward, the “best apps would be paired to diabetes devices, supported by companies,” Ahn said. 

“We do want to see [diabetes] apps play a role – just in the right way,” summarised Car.   

The webinar by the Healthcare Delivery and Quality Improvement group of the American Diabetes Association was held on January 16. Click here to read more about the debate. 

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