In response to an increase in women with gestational diabetes mellitus, the team developed a real-time, smartphone-based remote blood glucose management system aimed at improving the efficiency of clinical care. The system, called GDm-health, transmits blood glucose readings to a smartphone app and results are transmitted via a secure website where healthcare professionals can review the information and follow up with an SMS message to patients. 52 pregnant women used the system from June 2012 to August 2013. Satisfaction surveys indicated women were very happy with their care and the technology was reliable and fitted in well with their lifestyle.
GDm (gestational diabetes) is increasingly prevalent, as pregnant women become older and heavier, with large proportions coming from high-risk ethnic backgrounds across the UK. Patient-centred care delivery must help these women understand and manage their own disease, within the context of their lifestyle.
Standard UK clincial practice is to teach women with GDm to perform fingerprick blood glucose (BG) monitoring. Management decisions rely on accurate BG monitoring.
Pregnant women with GDM are ideally suited to a digital BG management system. This age group is highly smartphone literate, and pregnant women are motivated to improve their health for the benefit their baby. The disease lasts just 10 weeks on average from diagnosis to delivery, therefor it is unlikely people will face technology fatigue.
The aim of this service development initiative was to introduce a novel digital blood glucose management system into a maternity diabetes clinical service. Specific objectives included the development of a digital system that responds to both the needs of women with GDm and clinicians and to demonstrate the feasibility of the system as part of routine care in a diabetes in pregnancy service.
The service development also aimed to determine women’s views towards the technology, how it affected their relationship with the diabetes clinical team and their understanding of diabetes. The final objective was to analyse BG control patterns and women’s utilisation of the system.
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