Approximately 29 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. This number grows to 100 million if we add prediabetes to the statistics.
Type 2 diabetes is on the rise not only in the US. It remains a global epidemic. Required intensity of disease management programs are straining health systems, especially in primary care where physicians often lack adequate time with patients.
Mobile technologies, such as smartphones, tablets, and wearable devices, along with mobile apps could play an important role in complementing multifaceted diabetes care and providing healthcare professionals with information and guidance.
Since 1988, many healthcare providers use the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Standards of Medical Care to quickly access the current diabetes treatment recommendations.
The ADA Standards of Care are also available as a mobile app, which had not been updated for years, precisely since the release of the 2014 standards.
Finally, a couple of months ago the app was completely redesigned and updated to the most recent 2018 ADA Standards of Care.
The latest version of the app, we review today, includes detailed information on diagnosis and treatment of diabetes with specific guidelines, from lipid management to retinopathy treatment.
The app also provides lifestyle and nutrition recommendations, as well as interactive tools to help with diagnoses, A1C targets, medication management, and more.
One of the most important updates this year is addressing the social and emotional aspects of successful diabetes management because the physical challenges of diabetes are just one part of the story. The ADA recommends healthcare professionals to pay attention at all sides of diabetes, including mental health, social support, local resources, etc.
Other major changes include new guidelines for heart disease and diabetes, i.e. adding drugs to improve heart health besides metformin, updated recommendations for self-monitoring of blood pressure levels, recommendations for people younger than 18 who are overweight or obese to get screened for type 2 diabetes, changes in glucose monitoring and A1C testing recommendations, etc.
The app also added a recommendation that pregnant women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes should consider taking a low-dose aspirin starting at the end of their first trimester to help reduce their risk of preeclampsia.
The ADA Standards of Care is free to download and it is available for Android and iOS.
Upon the first launch, the app would initiate the download of the content and its updates. Unfortunately, there's no way to stop this, so it can cost you a money because the app uses mobile data by default. You can disable it later in the Settings, however, not before the initial launch.
The app's user interface is simple and quite intuitive, divided into many summary recommendation sections and tools containing detailed algorithms and calculators, ranging from diagnosis of diabetes to hypertension treatment.
The app delivers evidence-based and expert/consensus-based content from the 2018 ADA Standards of Care released this year.
Nearly every topic of diabetes is covered in detail from prevention to diagnosis to treatment and prevention of complications. The content is well-referenced with hyperlinks.
The app contains many charts, and the content in all sections is expandable and available as PDFs.
Users can add their own notes and bookmark content and calculators for easier access.
While more and more recommendations in the app are based on solid evidence, some ADA recommendations are clearly based on weak evidence and/or expert opinion, which is in opposition to recommendations from other institutions and groups, such as American College of Physicians, US Preventive Service Task Force, American Academy of Family Physicians, etc.
I also had trouble getting used to the app's layout that could be a lot simpler. The multi-layered sections are too complex.
Also, the app is slow. The back buttons don't work as they should, just like the device's back button, which becomes unresponsive in the app.
Despite its flaws, which are mostly concerning the user experience and user interface, ADA Standards of Care app is a valuable go-to resource for providers caring for patients with diabetes, simply because it is the most up to date and comprehensive app available for diabetes.
The app is primarily geared toward the healthcare community, however, patients could also benefit from the information about complex diabetes management.
The app developers promised that the ADA Standard of Care app will continue to be updated throughout the year and that the new ADA app that will include a diabetes risk calculator and diabetes treatment algorithm will be released in spring, the press release notes.
The app users can choose to be alerted about these updates by enabling update notifications.
Overall, the ADA Standards of Care app is the most comprehensive at-the-point-of-care resource for healthcare providers who treat patients with diabetes.
The app contains the latest recommendations about diabetes prevention, diagnosis, and treatment coming from a reputable source, as well as many tools that could be helpful in clinical practice.
Benefit: The app was primarily created for healthcare providers who care for patients with diabetes, including interns/residents in primary care specialties including internal medicine, family medicine, endocrinology, geriatrics and emergency medicine, students, nurses, diabetic educators, and others interested in diabetes care, including patients who may also benefit from information in this app.