Turkish mobile operator Turkcell teamed up with Istanbul University researchers to study how its wireless-enabled diabetes device, Turkcell Healthmeter, would impact patient outcomes.
The Turkcell Healthmeter is a small, cellular-enabled device that wirelessly pairs with a number of Bluetooth-enabled blood glucose meters -- no smartphone required. For the study, the Healthmeter sent data received from participating patients' glucose meters wirelessly to their physicians. Some 200 people with diabetes participated in the study and all followed their regular drug regimen, while half of them used the Healthmeter, too. If the data reported back to providers show any irregularities, the physician is alerted via text message, helping them to intervene right away if it's necessary to do so. Family and other caregivers could also be alerted should the patient request it.
Those with the connected device saw their average HbA1c levels (a three-month blood sugar average) decrease by 9 percent, according to Turkcell. The company said that patients using the devices experienced a 0.3 percent change in HbA1c values on average. In addition, the average preprandial blood glucose level decreased by about 16 percent, and the adherence of patients to drug treatment increased by 25 percent.
“We have about 7 million diabetes patients in Turkey – almost as much as a medium-size European country. Being able to follow our patients closely and in a way that minimizes human error greatly improves our ability to make a difference. In our study, Turkcell Healthmeter group adapted better to drug treatment” Dr. Ilhan Satman, coordinator of the project, said in a statement. “We can conclude that closely tracking patients through mobile health technology resulted in better blood sugar, blood pressure and lipid control without requiring additional use of drugs.”
Turkcell’s CEO Sureyya Ciliv said in a statement that the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in Turkey is increasing faster than it is elsewhere in the world.
"We spend 13 billion Turkish liras (roughly $6 billion) per year on diabetes. With this product, doctors are able to attain greater accuracy in their treatment of patients while the healthcare system benefits from a more efficient use of resources,” Ciliv said.