Medical professionals have been collaborating with technologists to develop evidence-based solutions to some of the health problems many patients encounter. Diabetes remains of the medical conditions that have benefited from the leverage of modern technologists. Experts have succeeded in developing apps that combine computing systems with smartphones to can help more patients manage the condition. Medical care providers are presently relying on these systems to guide their respective patients to achieve positive health outcomes. However, various issues exist that all stakeholders should examine from an informed perspective. This paper gives a detailed analysis of the major risks and chances associated with diabetes apps.
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a common disease affecting the metabolic system and triggers increased blood sugar in the human body. Individuals suffering from this disease encounter specific challenges that influence their health experiences. Specifically, their bodies might be unable to produce adequate insulin or be unable to utilize it effectively (Kabede & Pischke, 2019). The increasing sugar levels in the affected body can trigger additional challenges and health problems. Doctors encourage affected individuals to make the relevant lifestyle transformations in an effort to overturn this cycle and ensure that positive health results are recorded.
Within the past decade, various phone manufacturers have managed to produce apps that are capable of helping more individuals suffering from chronic conditions. Most of these apps are designed in such a way that they can use various logging tools and hardware equipment to deliver desirable outcomes. Unfortunately, the continued use of most of these apps has not delivered meaningful outcomes. For example, several studies completed in 2016 observed that the use of such apps only contributed to less than a 0.5 percent reduction in A1C (Ahn & Stahl, 2019). This outcome reveals that specific gaps and challenges exist that all key stakeholders need to examine from an informed perspective.
Despite the identified challenges, many smartphones have apps that are becoming useful today. Unfortunately, most of the systems fail to offer proper guidelines for ensuring medical professionals provide the relevant instructions to their patients. Currently, patients are only compelled to familiarize themselves and monitor such apps if they are to record meaningful health experiences and outcomes (Fleming et al., 2020). From this evidence, it is agreeable that most of the users do not get the opportunity to learn more about the possible pitfalls and shortcomings associated with these apps.
While these challenges exist, most of the developed apps continue to offer a wide range of features that guide patients to engage in physical activities, monitor the quantity of food intake, and track the level of insulin. Some systems have additional attributes for guiding the nature of communication between healthcare professionals and the affected patients (Krauskopf, 2017). Some developers have integrated social networks as a way of improving the effectiveness of their apps. Unfortunately, numerous concerns and challenges exist when it comes to the use of diabetes apps despite some of the promises they offer to the targeted patients and medical professionals.
Modern technologists remain essential in the field of healthcare since they present a wide range of benefits that can transform patients’ medical experiences. The presentation of diabetes apps is an evidence-based approach intended to support more individuals and ensure that they lead high-quality lives. Developers and technologists have been keen to divide their apps in accordance with the goals and modes of operation. For example, Fleming et al. (2020) indicate that some of the apps focus on users’ nutrition whereby they offer choices for food options and entries. Users who manage their diets will have higher chances of managing DM successfully. Other apps might be designed in such a way that they track insulin and the use of medication. These combinations make it possible for the users to engage in self-management.
Several chances are evident that explain how and why these apps might become resourceful tools for helping more people reduce their chances of developing this disease or managing it successfully. The first one is that more people in the world today have access to smartphones than ever before. Additionally, clinicians and medical experts are relying on the use of advanced devices to pursue their personal and professional aims (Ahn & Stahl, 2019). These attributes show conclusively that smartphones can become powerful tools for integrating diabetes apps and supporting the management of the condition. This change means that more individuals will eventually find these systems applicable and capable of transforming their overall health experiences.
Second, diabetes apps are resourceful and capable of guiding more people to deal with diabetes and achieve desirable health outcomes. For instance, the app can guide more people to complete various disease management tasks in a repetitive manner. This practice means that the individuals will not record errors throughout the process. The apps will also offer timely reminders that can guide individuals to monitor their glucose levels and offer timely measurements integrated with other advanced devices (Krauskopf, 2017). The apps are designed in such a way that they can alert the subscriber or user about any emerging trend that should become a point of concern. These attributes can make it possible for the user to record positive health outcomes.
Third, the developed apps are capable of relaying the acquired data with the patient’s healthcare provider electronically. The generated information or report can make it possible for the professional to make informed decisions and over guidelines for managing the condition and taking insulin (Ahn & Stahl, 2019). With many medical experts having access to technological devices, chances are high that the targeted individual will be able to record positive health experiences and outcomes. Medical professionals can rely on these systems to address unwanted trends and offer timely guidelines that can result in proper disease management.
Finally, past studies have offered strong evidence to support the use of diabetes apps in the management of this condition. For example, Kabede and Pischke (2019) observed that the continued use of diabetes can support disease self-management procedures. The end result was that most of the individuals recorded positive experiences and outcomes (Ahn & Stahl, 2019). Most of the professionals and policymakers in this field acknowledge that the adoption of these apps can make it possible for patients to monitor their glucose levels continuously and eventually have meaningful lifestyle changes. It is agreeable that more cases of diabetes are being reported in different parts of the world (Fleming et al., 2020). It is, therefore, appropriate for the relevant clinicians and medical experts to consider these insights and identify evidence-based approaches and apps that can support the delivery of positive medical experiences.
The above section has revealed that the use of diabetes apps presents numerous opportunities for all partners in the healthcare system. Clinicians and caregivers can rely on them to address patients’ needs while achieving their goals much faster (Fleming et al., 2020). Similarly, informed patients can track their glucose and insulin levels and report challenging trends that might affect their overall health outcomes. Despite these changes associated with such apps, some unique risks exist that all stakeholders should be aware of and propose better strategies for improvement.
The first unique risk is the unreliability of most of these apps. Ahn and Stahl (2019) indicate most of the developers and designers of most of these apps fail to provide proper mechanisms for supporting and managing the system for the longest time possible. This challenge amounts to a serious issue that might have negative implications on the long-term experiences and outcomes of the patients (Kabede & Pischke, 2019). Without proper mechanisms to make such apps sustainable, chances are high that more patients will not be able to record positive health outcomes and manage their condition successfully.
The second problem arising from the nature of these apps is that they are unregulated by the relevant agencies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Without proper regulations, chances are high that most of the resources will fail to have the interests of the targeted patients. Some might lack the right numeric validation or offer erroneous readings that might have negative implications on the health experiences and outcomes of the patients (Ahn & Stahl, 2019). Consequently, the apps could offer recommendations that are either inappropriate or misleading. In most cases, the patients could be compelled to take inappropriate insulin quantities, thereby resulting in adverse health conditions.
The third risk associated with unregulated diabetes apps is the possibility of cyber-attacks and insecurity. The health information or data contained in such apps are intended to be confidential and secure in accordance with the United States Health Insurance Portability and Acceptability Act (HIPA). Hackers can rely on these gaps to access individual confidential information and use it to pursue their own goals (Fleming et al., 2020). Without proper control measures and systems, chances are high that these apps will continue to remain inappropriate and questionable.
Finally, many regions lack coordinated efforts and systems for bringing together users of such apps to record the best outcomes. For instance, some patients will lack the relevant guidelines from their health professionals regarding the effective use of such apps. The patients will only have to make their own interpretations and lifestyle changes without getting the relevant guidelines (Fleming et al., 2020). The end result is that the individuals will not record positive health experiences. These risks, therefore, explain why there is a need for all professionals to identify these issues and identify high-quality diabetes apps that are trustworthy and capable of delivering desirable health benefits.
The above discussion has supported the use of diabetes apps since they are revolutionary and capable of promoting self-management practices. Most of these patients will record the relevant lifestyle changes and lead longer and high-quality lives. However, the analysis has identified some of the unique risks that all key stakeholders should address from an informed perspective. These efforts will guide them to identify high-quality apps that resonate with the demands of both the patients and healthcare professionals.
Ahn, D. T., & Stahl, R. (2019). Is there an app for that? The pros and cons of diabetes smartphone apps and how to integrate them into clinical practice. Diabetes Spectrum, 32(3), 231-236. Web.
Fleming, G. A., Petrie, J. R., Bergenstal, R. M., Holl, R. W., Peters, A. L., & Heinemann, L. (2020). Diabetes digital app technology: Benefits, challenges, and recommendations. A consensus report by the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) diabetes technology working group. Diabetologia, 63, 229-241. Web.
Kabede, M. M., & Pischke, C. R. (2019). Popular diabetes apps and the impact of diabetes app use on self-care behaviour: A survey among the digital community of persons with diabetes on social media. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 10(135), 1-14. Web.
Krauskopf, P. B. (2017). Review of American Diabetes Association diabetes care standards and mySugr mobile apps. The Journal of Nurse Practitioners, 13(3), E159-E160. Web.