KEEPING TRACK: Tool Helps Diabetes Patients

Using the computer may not come naturally to all of us. But, one 77 year-old woman says she’s getting better at using the web. And, she isn’t just surfing online for entertainment. It’s becoming critical for her to manage a disease that affects millions of people.

Beverley Kiefer is becoming a pro using her computer. She says, “I can do e-mail and Facebook, and I can shop, and I suppose I can do YouTube.”

Now, she’s using the web to hopefully help her health. She says, “Right now, I am struggling with my sugars, and I know that’s what contributes to my not feeling the best.”

The 77 year-old was diagnosed with diabetes two decades ago. She’s been coming to the Iowa Diabetes Endocrinology Center at Mercy ever since. Two months ago, her doctor, Anuj Bhargava presented her with a new option to control her disease. She says, “I am doing My Diabetes Home. And, I find it to be very easy to use.”

Dr. Bhargava launched the platform in 2011. He says, “It’s a very unique platform that has everything a patient with diabetes needs.” It allows patients like Kiefer to track blood sugar levels, blood pressure and any medicine she is taking. She can see trends over time and show her doctor at checkups.

Kiefer says, “You can just go to the computer and bring up anything you forgot to bring or that you really need to mention.”

My Diabetes Home is now available as a mobile app on your smart phone making it easier for patients to have the information they need when they visit the doctor. Dr. Bhargava says, “We need to have much better visits with our doctors, and that’s where we’ve worked significantly over the last few months to transform that.”

Dr. Bhargava says physicians typically have about 15 minutes with a patient. So, a new feature is the Visit Optimizer, which organizes the patient’s vital health information to take to their appointments. He says, “The next big blockbuster in diabetes is technology, and I think with technology we can remove many barriers and steps from the patient’s path. As doctors and as patients, we really need to embrace technology.”

It’s something Kiefer is doing, as she works to control her diabetes. She says, “Right now I’m having some trouble with my sugars, but we will get it where it should be.” She’s hoping technology will help.

About 3,000 patients are using My Diabetes Home. So far, about 10,000 people have downloaded the new mobile app. You can register for free at mydiabeteshome.com.