Study in The Lancet shows new technology improves insulin dosing and blood glucose levels for patients with type 2 diabetes
Data suggests automated tools can help overcome long-standing challenges to improving glucose control in individuals using insulin therapy
Feb. 23, 2019 – MINNEAPOLIS – Nearly 9 million people use insulin to help manage type 2 diabetes. And while it provides some benefit, only a small percentage of those people are able to control their disease with this therapy. But a new study in The Lancet suggests new technologies can offer more effective ways to tailor doses of insulin and improve diabetes management.
Researchers from the International Diabetes Center (IDC), part of HealthPartners Institute, led a study involving 181 participants with type 2 diabetes who, despite taking insulin, were not able to control their blood glucose levels. One of the long-standing challenges to taking insulin is the inability to modify prescribed doses in a timely manner, making it difficult for patients to harness the full potential benefit from the drug.
About half of the patients were assigned to use a glucose monitoring system with software that automatically makes insulin dosing recommendations after analyzing their blood glucose patterns for several days. Each type of insulin was adjusted up or down every week if needed depending on glucose patterns, resulting in a more personalized approach to dosing.
The other group of participants adjusted their insulin doses based on the advice of a healthcare team at regularly scheduled contacts over the six-month study, though not nearly as frequent as the other group. Both groups of patients had the same intensity of support from health professionals during the study.
But after six months, the number of patients who were able to control their diabetes (HbA1c less than 7 percent is a common target to minimize the risk of diabetes complications) using the automated insulin dose guidance system along with health professional support was five times higher than the number of patients who were in the group of patients that received health professionals support alone.
According to Richard Bergenstal, MD, executive director of the IDC and lead investigator on the study, these results provide important insights about the appropriate use of insulin therapy – especially as clinicians follow the latest prescribing guidelines from the American Diabetes Association and European Association for the Study of Diabetes.
“With this study, we see that advanced technology partnered with intermittent health professional support can be used very effectively in individuals with type 2 diabetes,” he said.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health’s Small Business Technology Transfer program and specifically studied a device known as d-Nav® manufactured by Hygieia. Henry Ford Medical Center and Iowa Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center participated in the study as clinical sites. Bergenstal is presenting the findings at the International Conference on Advanced Technologies and Treatments for Diabetes in Berlin on Feb. 23, 2019.
About International Diabetes Center
IDC provides world-class diabetes care, education, publications and research that supports people with diabetes and their families. It includes more than 80 health care professionals involved in research and education, along with the collaboration of professionals across the HealthPartners Park Nicollet care system to ensure patients receive the best possible diabetes care. IDC is part of HealthPartners Institute, the research and education organization affiliated with HealthPartners. HealthPartners is the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. It conducts more than 450 research studies annually; trains medical residents, fellows and students; and provides continuing medical education, patient education and clinical quality improvement.