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Telemedicine helps participants track health behaviors

BY Michael Johnsen

On the horizon of diabetes offerings at retail is telemedicine — a concept that may come sooner than later thanks to the rapid adoption of smartphones by consumers. In March 2012, researchers from the Stanford Prevention Research Center reported that smartphone applications can raise awareness and motivate older adults to improve their health. After eight weeks, 80% of participants reported increased awareness regarding a targeted health behavior (increased walking, decreased sitting time, improved diet), and three-quarters said the apps helped track the behavior. Two-thirds indicated the apps increased their motivation to 
make improvements.


True telemedicine functionality — in which a patient’s condition is monitored remotely by a healthcare practitioner, such as a pharmacist or retail clinician, in real time — is still many years away, but Nipro Diagnostics took a significant step in that direction in August. Nipro and NextGen Healthcare Information Systems partnered on a connectivity agreement that gives users of the NextGen Ambulatory EHR instant access to data points captured by patients at home who are using the Nipro TRUEresult blood-glucose monitoring system. 


“Home monitoring will become even more important as healthcare providers move toward patient-centered medical home and accountable care organization models,” stated Scott Decker, president of NextGen Healthcare. “Seamlessly integrating data directly from a patient’s meter into NextGen Healthcare’s Ambulatory EHR provides physicians with the necessary tools to better manage the health of 
their patients.

”
Right now it’s more push than pull, however, as caregivers only access the data during a consult as opposed to remote 
patient monitoring.

 

 

The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Diabetes Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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Competitive bidding to hurt independents

BY Michael Johnsen

Beyond 2013, competitive bidding around durable medical equipment supplies could push many pharmacy operations out of the diabetes business altogether. “By 2016, all durable medical equipment suppliers, mail-order and retail, will be subject to competitive bidding or competitive bidding pricing for [diabetes testing supplies],” noted the NCPA in recent written testimony to Congress. According to an NCPA poll, that could drive as many as 92% of independents out of the 
diabetes business. 


NCPA has been lobbying for passage of the Medicare Access to Diabetes Supplies Act, a bipartisan bill that would exempt small pharmacy operations of less than 10 locations from competitive 
bidding restrictions. 


Sales of lancets and devices across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart) totaled $17.2 million for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 12, up 3.1%, according to SymphonyIRI group data. But that is a far cry from representing the total value of a diabetes patient. People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures that are approximately 2.3 times higher than the expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. More than half of diabetes patients utilizing Medicare visit their neighborhood pharmacies as many as three times each month, according to an NCPA poll. 


Then there are ancillary conditions for which diabetics may seek treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19.9% of U.S. adults with diabetes smoked in 2010; 56.9% were obese, based on self-reported height and weight; 85.7% were overweight or obese; and 36.1% reported being physically inactive. In 2009, 57.9% of U.S. adults with diabetes reported having hypertension, and 58.4% reported that their cholesterol was high.


 

 

The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Diabetes Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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Happy pets, happy owners

BY Barbara White-Sax

ST. LOUIS — Nestle Purina PetCare Company is touting its newest pet food brand, Be Happy, as a brand that “celebrate[s] our pets as our happiness heroes.” In just three months, the brand’s Facebook page has grown to more than 100,000 fans. Be Happy is available in two varieties for cats — Deep Sea Duos Crunchies with Ocean Fish and Salmon Flavors, and Poultry Pair-adise Crunchies with Chicken and Turkey Flavors — and two varieties for dogs — beef and chicken.

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