Preventing Type 2 Diabetes in the Digital Age

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes in the Digital Age


There are certainly a large number of apps
for diabetes. They’re a part of care; they’re not going
to do everything for the patient, they’re not going to provide all the answers. They really need to be looked at as a tool. The National Diabetes Prevention Program can
be delivered both in person and through virtual technology. The National DPP has included delivery by
virtual means since 2015. There is a wide range of digital tools that
are available to assist in diabetes prevention. And we are using the term, at the CDC, “continuum
of complexity” really just to help try to categorize things because there are so many
and we sort of look at what would be considered more low complexity, if you will. Those are things like apps, things like using
email and texting – some of the really kind of basic things that are out there that, at
times, are really used more for tracking and for communication. So you can even think about any of the trackers
for physical activity. When you move to medium complexity as it relates
to the National Diabetes Prevention Program, this is where you are seeing the program itself
delivered using technology. It could be that it’s being delivered by a
coach who is in one location with a group of people in person with the coach, and they
are broadcasting that class to another group of participants who are remote, so it can
be that distance learning. When you move to the higher complexity – now
that you’re adding these things together, so you may be using the lower complexity tools,
you may also be having some elements of what would be considered medium. In the higher complexity, it means that the
program really is delivered using all virtual technology as opposed to meeting in person
with the coach. Even in the higher complexity virtual delivery,
you still need to have interaction with the coach. It really is around increasing access. It is really around being able to reach people
who prefer to get this intervention in that way. But I do want to really emphasize that it
is imperative that we have both in-person and virtual delivery of the National DPP. They are both necessary because if we’re going
to reach the scale that we need to – we estimate 84 million that have prediabetes
– we need to be reaching millions of people. In order to do that, you’ve got to maximize
both in-person and virtual. There are many benefits to the health care
professional, for referring the patient to the National Diabetes Prevention Program. It is important, first, that the health professional
do screen/test their patient for prediabetes, and then refer. The referral does allow them to help their
patient engage with a program that is proven to be effective. And we all know that health care professionals
want the best for their patients. This helps reduce their demand on their time
and their energy.

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