Prescription Therapy: There's an App for That

Prescription-only technology with insurance reimbursement helps patients and prescribers better manage diabetes.

Mobile apps help users check the news and book flights, but can they also provide chronic disease management? The FDA thinks so.

In 2013, the FDA cleared WellDoc’s BlueStar as the first mobile prescription therapy for adults with type 2 diabetes. Co-created by an endocrinologist, this prescription-only technology with insurance reimbursement helps patients and prescribers better manage diabetes.

The “drug” works quite well, with A1C-lowering effects comparable to prescription medication. In fact, a pair of clinical trials showed a significant reduction in A1C of 1.9% and 2.03%, respectively. 1,2 In other words, patients who use the app show clinical improvement.

Here’s how it works: patients enter their blood glucose levels, and then the app provides feedback that includes guidance, educational tips, and motivation to stay on track. Patients can also record their medication, diet, and exercise, and then share their results with their health care providers.

The app also offers prescribers a management tool that assists them with monitoring patients’ blood glucose and intervening when appropriate. Using clinical decision support, the app can advise the physician with evidence-based guidelines.

BlueStar redefines the way we think of prescription therapy, which is pretty incredible for software. Be on the lookout for more mobile-based therapies in the future.

References

1. Quinn CC, Shardell MD, Terrin ML, Barr EA, Ballew SH, Gruber-Baldini AL. Cluster-randomized trial of a mobile phone personalized behavioral intervention for blood glucose control. Diabetes Care. 2011;34(9):1934-1942.

2. Quinn CC, Clough SS, Minor JM, Lender D, Okafor MC, Gruber-Baldini A. WellDoc mobile diabetes management randomized controlled trial: change in clinical and behavioral outcomes and patient and physician satisfaction. Diabetes Technol Ther. 2008;10(3):160-168.