In its 2023 Standards of Care, the American Diabetes Association says technology is now a vital part of care management, and all people living with diabates should have access to those tools and platforms.
The American Diabetes Association is emphasizing the value of healthcare technology in diabetes care management in its 2023 Standards of Care.
The revised standards, issued this week, include a section devoted to technology, including continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices that allow people living with diabetes to check their blood glucose levels at any time, automated insulin delivery systems and digital health tools that offer coaching and access to resources.
The guidelines recommend that anyone living with diabetes have access to FDA-approved technology to manage their chronic condition, especially seniors and underserved populations. The ADA also points out that technology can be used to improve access to care and care management for those dealing with health inequity, or barriers to care caused by social determinants of health.
“ADA’s mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, a chronic illness that requires continuous medical care, and the release of ADA’s Standards of Care is a critical part of that mission,” Chuck Henderson, the organization's chief executive officer, said in a press release. “This year’s annual report provides necessary guidance that considers the role health inequities play in the development of diabetes, particularly for vulnerable communities and communities of color disproportionately impacted by the disease. This guidance will ensure healthcare teams, clinicians and researchers treat the whole person.”
Digital health technology has been a part of care management for people living with diabetes for years, though the ADA and other organizations, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have been careful to support only technology that passes strict protocols and has proven to improve clinical outcomes.
The ADA's acknowledgement of the value of technology may mark an import step in the value-based care movement.
Earlier this year Kevin Sayer, CEO of digital health company Dexcom, one of the leaders in the diabetes technology space, said the industry is moving on from highlighting the next big thing and focusing more on integration and interoperability.
"Everybody wants everybody to be interoperable and talk to everybody else," he said. "The only way that these platforms are going to be successful going forward is if all the technology works with each other and people using it are engaged."
"It isn't even technological any more," he added. "What people are looking for is access."
Sayer says the diabetes care industry is now transitioning to overall health and wellness, not just tools and platforms that solely address diabetes. That's why a company like Livongo, which was launched by former Allscripts executive Glenn Tullman to help people living with diabetes like his son, has since evolved to address other chronic diseases, as well as integrating with primary care and behavioral healthcare services.
"We've come to understand that the patient's healthcare journey starts long before they were diagnosed with diabetes," Sayer said. "And it involves a lot more than just [diabetes tools and platforms]. It's all about access now, and that can be complex. We have to learn how to make access easier."
Eric Wicklund is the Innovation and Technology Editor for HealthLeaders.
The American Diabetes Association has included an entire section devoted to technology in its 2023 Standards of Care, and says anyone living with diabetes should have access to the latest devices and platforms that have proven to help care management and improve clinical outcomes.
The ADA also says technology can help improve care for people who have traditionally faced barriers to access, such as the elderly and underserved.
Many digital health companies in the diabetes technology space are shifting to integrated tools and platforms that also address primary and behavioral healthcare and other chronic conditions.