One of the problems with treating diabetes is that it requires a daily effort — an often constant monitoring of symptoms. Many diabetics simply lose track of things after a while. There are too many medications and too many appointments and symptoms start to worsen. Well, now there’s help and support for those caught up in this daily struggle…and it comes via the internet.
Researchers at the UCLA School of Medicine recently reviewed clinical studies regarding how information technology could help improve outcomes for patients with diabetes — mainly through enhanced education and 24-hour support. The researchers discovered that the Internet is a rich and effective place for diabetics to turn to.
For the first time, with online tools, clinicians are in a position to have a major impact on diabetes outcomes by providing affordable and “just-in-time support” to large numbers of patients who want to improve their diabetes symptoms. Patients with diabetes often need a complex set of services and support ranging from glucose monitoring, insulin and other medication management, psychotherapy and social support, to physical activity promotion, nutrition counseling, and more.
According to the researchers, patient self-management of diabetes enabled by information technology has become an important factor in the way providers deliver healthcare. Patients now want an active role in managing their own health and they also want a more collaborative relationship with their healthcare providers. The Internet is helping in this regard. Widespread, low-cost Internet access is erasing existing geographic, economic and demographic barriers to obtaining health information online. And now, with
advanced Web technologies, high levels of interactivity can engage a patient.
It seems the Internet is good at delivering just-in-time tailored messages and experiences that speak to each person based on their unique characteristics, their performance on key behaviors (such as nutrition, blood pressure, insulin levels), and their needs at that moment in time.
The Internet is also providing diabetics with ways to easily and accurately keep track of their performance and use that knowledge to plan and implement new approaches to reaching their goals. The Web offers ways to link directly to family and friends for critical support, and to link to healthcare providers to help integrate medical care with everyday life.
Internet services now contain self-assessment tools and ways for someone with diabetes to monitor changes in blood sugar, insulin dosage, physical activity, weight, blood pressure, and mood. Someone with diabetes can now access their information online, input their data, and receive support 24 hours a day — all at a time and place most convenient for them.
One other important change that the researchers noted was that Web-based learning and support technology helps diabetes patients learn to overcome barriers. And when it comes to diabetes, that’s what it’s all about: removing those barriers to symptom improvement and making every day just a little bit easier to deal with.
To find out how naturopathic medicine is also helping diabetics, read the article The Solution to Your Diabetes May Be Here .