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Mobile health technology can aid diabetes management, study finds

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — Mobile health technology may help patients, particularly those with Type 2 diabetes, better manage their condition, according to a new study conducted by University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers.

The study, led by the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s assistant professor of epidemiology and public health Charlene Quinn, enrolled 163 patients — with the help of 39 primary care doctors in Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Montgomery County and Anne Arundel County — which were divided into four groups; three of which received mobile phones loaded with the diabetes management software and the fourth group served as a control group. Additionally, all of the patients received a free blood-glucose meter and testing supplies.

Throughout the study, the software provided real-time feedback on patients’ blood-sugar levels, displayed medication regimens and served as a "virtual coach," the researchers said. A patient’s blood-sugar test results were wirelessly sent from a blood-glucose monitor to the mobile phone. If the blood-sugar level was deemed too low or too high, the software on the phone prompted the person to take steps to correct it. Additionally, the system also analyzed blood-sugar levels and other patient information and sent computer-generated logbooks and suggested treatment plans to the patients’ primary care doctor.

Among those that used the diabetes management software, blood-sugar control, also known as A1C, decreased by an average of 1.9% over a period of one year. Quinn called the results "very encouraging."

"The 1.9% decrease in A1c that we saw in this research is significant," Quinn said. "Previous randomized clinical trials have suggested that just a 1% decrease in A1C will prevent complications of diabetes, including heart disease, stroke, blindness and kidney failure.

"Mobile health has the potential to help patients better self-manage any chronic disease, not just diabetes," Quinn added. "This is one of the first large, reported, randomized clinical studies examining the mobile health industry, which is rapidly growing. The [U.S.] Food and Drug Administration just last month released draft guidance on how it intends to regulate the field. Our results can help define the science behind this new strategy for disease management."

The study will be published in the September issue of Diabetes Care.

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Hispanic-centric banner Publix Sabor opens store No. 5

BY Michael Johnsen

HIALEAH, Fla. — Publix opened the doors to its second Publix Sabor, a supermarket banner developed with a strong Hispanic influence, here Thursday, according to a report published in the Miami Herald.

In addition to featuring many Latin-centric products, the interior features bright colors and bilingual signage. The offering includes a larger variety of Caribbean and Central and South American products.

This is the fifth Publix Sabor to date, and the grocer has plans to open a sixth soon, according to the report.

For the full report, click here.

 

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Retailers, suppliers to convene for the 2011 NACDS Pharmacy & Technology Conference

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is gearing up for this year’s Pharmacy & Technology Conference in Boston in late August, an event that will bring together more than 130 retail companies representing more than 80,000 retail outlets.

This year’s conference will take place Aug. 27 to 30 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

The conference will bring together more than 130 retail companies comprised of chain drug stores, supermarkets and mass merchants, representing more than 80,000 retail outlets and more than $200 billion in annual sales for prescription drugs, OTC products and home health care.

The conference features business and educational programming, speakers and opportunities for retailers and suppliers to do business. The program includes:

  • Meet the Retailer, which is designed specifically for first-time attendees from small and mid-sized associate member companies, and will offer multiple 45-minute sessions with senior retail executives from retailers companies. Participants include Rite Aid, H-E-B, Chain Drug Consortium, Supervalu and Walgreens;
  • Meet the Rx Market, which will pair retailers and suppliers for personalized appointments to discuss products and services;
  • Daily business programs, which offer attendees the opportunity to hear from industry experts and keynote speakers on a variety of issues that impact day-to-day business. Speakers include Robert Loeffler, chief administrative officer of H-E-B and NACDS chairman; Steve Anderson, president and CEO of NACDS; Debbie Garza, divisional VP government and community relations for Walgreens and NACDS Pharmacy & Technology Conference chair; Michael Leavitt, former secretary of Health and Human Services and current chairman of Leavitt Partners; Douglas Long, VP industry relations at IMS Health; and Harry Totonis, president and CEO of SureScripts; and
  • Attendees also will be able to obtain continuing education credits from 22 education sessions throughout the four-day conference.

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