UnitedHealth Group links the use of Continuous Glucose Monitoring device to improvements in A1C levels for people with Type 2 diabetes
In one of the most effective use cases of a successful Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) application we have documented to date UnitedHealth Group, one of the world’s largest managed healthcare and insurance companies ranking 8th on the 2021 Fortune Global 500 list, recently announced the results of a study linking the usage of Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM) to improvements in A1C blood sugar levels for patients with Type 2 diabetes.
An innovative RPM intervention with the objective of putting Diabetes Type 2 into remission
UnitedHealth Group performed the analysis using data from Level2, a UnitedHealthcare partner diabetes care company. Level 2 seeks to make Diabetes Type 2 remission possible with a virtual health care approach that encompasses Remote Patient Monitoring devices including a Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) device, a Fitbit activity tracker and a custom APP, as well as personalized coaching and a clinical care team. The whole program including coaching sessions and clinical interventions are delivered virtually in a telehealth model.
Level2’s real-time feedback on how food, sleep and movement affect the patient’s body generates engagement from the patient as they learn what works for them one meal at a time. The value of the incremental insights provided by the RPM Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) device can be life changing – without fingersticks, guesswork or frequent doctor visits. In combination with coaching from experts and a dedicated clinical care team the approach is generating measurable positive outcomes.
Virtual health care and its various segments are experiencing explosive growth
As covered recently in our BML Health Blog article: Trends, benefits and use cases driving the adoption of Remote Patient Monitoring; the field of virtual care, comprising telehealth and telemedicine, is experiencing explosive growth. The Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) segment of the telehealth industry is among the strongest.
We’ve documented the major trends driving the adoption of RPM into the healthcare system. These are technology, the drive to lower costs, the aging population and chronic diseases and lastly but most importantly the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which drove healthcare providers to find fast solutions for how to monitor and treat patients outside clinical settings.
The major trends driving the adoption of Remote Patient Monitoring match up well with the purported benefits of RPM. The major benefits are: 1. Healthcare provided remotely 2. Improved Health Outcomes, 3. Reduced Costs, 4. High Patient Satisfaction and 5. Detailed Health Metrics.
In this deployment of RPM devices including the CGM device, the activity tracker and the APP we can see a fantastic illustration of the vision for virtual care and telehealth and what the future of healthcare could look like. It is important to note that the personal coaching and clinical care were also delivered remotely with all of the scale and cost advantages that this implies.
Improvements in Blood Sugar generated with the Continuous Glucose Monitoring device
In the study UnitedHealth reviewed data on 9,137 individuals who joined the Level2 program in the first seven months of 2021. UnitedHealth then identified those patients that had adequate A1C level data available for the three months before starting the program, and “sufficient CGM data” at week 12 or week 24 of being on the program.
Of those patients, 94% to 97%, or almost all, of the patients with an A1C above 9% had at least a 0.5% improvement in A1C. And 63% to 67% of patients with an initial A1C level of 7% to 9% experienced a 0.5% or greater improvement after joining Level2. The higher the initial A1C level the more likely the patient was to obtain the 0.5% improvement in A1C. This indicates that the program may be most likely to generate positive outcomes for those that are in greatest need with the highest A1C levels.
Due to the fast rising rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease the results have been received positively by healthcare providers, diabetes-tech vendors and even the financial industry. They are being interpreted as a validation of the role that CGMs and accompanying support programs can play in managing diabetes in terms of outcomes and costs, and as evidence that non-pharmacological tools can help patients manage their conditions.
The Level2 Program is utilizing the Dexcom G6 CGM System as its Continuous Glucose Monitoring device.
A model for the integration of remote patient monitoring devices into clinical workflows
It is encouraging to see study results such as these as they make us more aware of what is possible when digital health technology is effectively integrated into a clinical workflow to generate positive outcomes for patients.
Keep in mind the Level2 approach encompasses far more than technology and devices, yes it uses various RPM devices and a custom APP, but it also utilizes personalized coaching and clinical care from expert human beings. This is often the dynamic we observe in successful clinical interventions where the new digital health technology and humans work together synergistically to create better outcomes for patients.
We will continue to monitor the integration of digital medtech, remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices into the treatment practices for diabetes patients closely as they may provide a model for the treatment of other chronic diseases that could be better managed with the real time tracking and monitoring of health metrics.
About BML Technology
BML Technology understands digital health. At the intersection of medical technology, clinical research and patient-centric healthcare BML drives the mainstream adoption of digital technology in healthcare. Offering a full range of services to the digital health ecosystem BML manages the complex stakeholder interactions necessary to get digital health solutions to market and gain adoption.