You probably know someone living with diabetes. In fact, about 1 in 10 Americans live with the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And if you know someone with diabetes, then you may also know that they need to keep their blood glucose from rising too high or dropping too low to avoid additional health complications. This means they’re always monitoring their glucose levels.
The good news is a newer technology called continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) can provide people with diabetes with real-time blood glucose data, which helps them manage their diabetes more accurately.
“With these CGM devices, we can know exactly how long someone is in the optimal range,” said Dr. Richard Bergenstal, executive director of HealthPartners Institute’s International Diabetes Center (IDC). “And if clinicians have access to that data, we can respond to our patients’ needs and improve care.”
But that’s the challenge. While there are many CGM devices on the market, the data they provide hasn’t always been easily accessible to care teams.
Integrating CGM data to help our patients
HealthPartners Institute recently partnered with CGM manufacturer Abbott Diabetes Care on a first-of-its-kind project to integrate patients’ CGM data into their electronic health record (EHR), which is a digital version of a patient’s medical chart.
This data integration means clinicians can easily see a patient’s CGM data alongside their health history and other medical information.
“By integrating CGM data into the medical record, we’re making it simpler to obtain and interpret data, act on it and help our patients improve diabetes management,” said Gregg Simonson, PhD, director of care transformation and training at IDC.
A bright future for patients
This data integration project has involved numerous teams across the HealthPartners organization, including information systems and technology, endocrinology, lab services and others.
IDC experts hope to work with other CGM device manufacturers, to combine data from their devices into the EHR in a standard way, too. This new model should also help guide other healthcare systems do the same.
In addition, a grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust is helping IDC researchers continue to study how best to integrate CGM data into clinical practice and how it can lead to better health outcomes.
“We’re looking to the future, and we see CGM as a critically important technology,” Dr. Simonson added. “We think integrating data will help more clinicians leverage technology to its fullest capability.”