Diabetes management with AI-driven mobile apps | Techy Kings

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DIABETES is a global problem that is increasing in frequency and prevalence every year. in 2021 An estimated 537 million adults worldwide have diabetes, although in Australia it is the fastest growing chronic disease and in 2020 it affects about 1.3 million Australians. Diabetes is estimated to cost the Australian healthcare system almost $2.5 billion annually. and together with its complications, a significant 6.86 billion.

Diabetes mellitus is associated with high morbidity and mortality; therefore, it is very important not only to detect diabetes in time, but also to prevent and delay its complications. Treatment options for diabetes include insulin therapy, oral hypoglycemic medications, regular glucose monitoring, and behavioral changes such as a healthy diet and increased physical activity.

Diabetes also requires constant self-monitoring to prevent complications and reduce the risk of long-term disability. Some self-management techniques include monitoring diet and blood glucose trends, sticking to medication or insulin schedules, and increasing physical activity.

Self-management apps, or mobile health apps in other words, are rapidly evolving and can improve diabetes care because they are user-friendly, accessible, portable, have wide reach, and are cost-effective. They allow users to take many self-management steps with medication reminders, dose calculators, food and activity trackers, community support, glucose management diaries and much more in one place instead of managing multiple paper records.

The use of mobile applications was associated with positive self-management behaviors and increased physical activity and could significantly reduce glycated hemoglobin (HbA).1c) and improve quality of life while reducing healthcare costs and preventing complications ( here , here , here ).

An assistive technology for diabetes prevention and management that has received much attention over the past few decades is artificial intelligence (AI). AI has been used primarily in four critical areas of diabetes care: clinical decision support, predictive population risk stratification, automated retinal examination, and patient self-management programs.

This article will focus on the self-management approach using mobile health apps for diabetes management, its mechanism of action and effectiveness.

Mobile apps with or without AI capabilities are typically designed around the concept of behavior modification. There is a wealth of clinical evidence and research that emphasizes that behavior is the driving force and key to better diabetes outcomes. Evidence from studies across several diabetes types and age groups suggests that 30-50% of overall diabetes control is attributable to behavioral changes. Behavioral change interventions change diabetes management behavior, which affects HbA1c level and other outcomes such as ketoacidosis, hospitalization and hypoglycaemic events.

Mobile apps are a powerful way for people with diabetes to take control of their diabetes management. Combined with artificial intelligence, these apps empower people with diabetes to make decisions about activity and diet, while helping to calculate the calories and nutritional value of different meals. Another advantage that AI brings to these applications is that its algorithms can provide meaningful insights into progress charts and numbers, allowing for informed decision-making based on real insights.

It’s amazing how AI is adding so many possibilities to mobile health apps; But a key aspect of diabetes care that developers often overlook is the relationship between patients and their healthcare providers. It is not uncommon for people with diabetes to have multiple specialists providing multidisciplinary care. And diabetes requires ongoing care and easy access to care providers. Unfortunately, people with chronic conditions such as diabetes often find it difficult to reach their providers quickly, leading to poor condition management.

Some apps also offer a virtual behavior coaching feature where a virtual coach, either human or artificial intelligence, reads input and provides personalized recommendations in real time. Adding virtual coach functionality has shown promising results compared to a simple app for psychosocial support, glycemic control, and behavior change due to data-driven personalization that facilitates user engagement and increased satisfaction.

Personalization is the key to modern medicine, including diabetes management, whether it’s treatment or self-management. Municipal programs should not be based on a one-size-fits-all approach; Instead, they should be designed with a one-size-fits-all approach. The results of a systematic review of reviews and meta-analyses show that when programs provide personal feedback, there is a significant improvement in HbA.1C level, clearly emphasizing the importance of personalization in diabetes self-management programs. To be effective, interventions should address the needs of end users and be individualized.

A key advantage of using a virtual trainer is that their human-like appearance allows users to interact with them familiarly and realistically through facial expressions, body movements and language, allowing users to have a personalized experience. This allows for the development of a working and social relationship between the virtual coach and the user, allowing the user to continuously engage with the program, which is an essential element needed in the context of diabetes management and application use.

In conclusion, mobile health apps using artificial intelligence capabilities are a promising intervention to help people with diabetes better manage their diabetes. Designed with relevant features, these apps add a personal touch to diabetes self-management. However, their uptake and use can be improved when the personal needs of end-users are taken into account.

Dr Jeetendra Mathur is the founder and project manager of Healea, a technology-driven diabetes self-management solution. His extensive experience in the healthcare industry includes working in a variety of medical settings including emergency medicine and burn/plastic surgery in large public and corporate hospitals in India and the Maldives. He is passionate about making healthcare better and safer, with a focus on digital health and artificial intelligence.

Dr Sandeep Reddy is the Director of the MBA (Health Care Management) Program at Deakin University. In addition to his medical background, he has qualifications in medical informatics, management and public health. He has led various health service projects and shaped high-level policy in Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

Statements or opinions expressed in this article reflect the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect official AMA policy, MJA or InSight+ unless otherwise specified.

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To submit an article for consideration, please send a Word version to mjainsight-editor@ampco.com.au.

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