The first free information and support app for people with diabetes has been launched by the Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology (CDE). Hamish van Wyk, registered dietitian and diabetes educator from CDE, tells us more.
The most important person in the management of diabetes is the person living with diabetes. For this reason, the CDE launched its CDE Club App to assist people with diabetes by providing valuable information, a tool to track progress, and even earn rewards.
“The majority of diabetes care is self-administered. For example, people with diabetes have to decide when to take their medication, what goes onto their plate on a daily basis, and whether or not they will exercise. It has been suggested that a person with diabetes should know more about diabetes than the average general practitioner. This can be overwhelming. The aim of the CDE Club App is to step in and empower people with diabetes so they can meet their daily self-management demands,” Hamish explains.
Discover is the first section of the CDE Club App. Here people with diabetes can access educational articles, videos and recipes, all designed to help gain a better understanding of their health. The content is developed by some of the leading healthcare providers in diabetes in South Africa. Very importantly, the app asks the user clinically relevant questions in an attempt to better understand the user’s health status. Based on these questions, the app can suggest educational content specific to the user.
“Our experience tells us that the majority of people with diabetes have many questions about their condition and don’t have the answers. The intention of the app is not to take over the role of a diabetes nurse, educator or dietitian, it provides information to support the user’s education journey and it acts as a point of reference. It offers answers to questions, such as: Why do I have diabetes?, What is an HbA1c?, Will I ever need insulin in addition to my pills?, How many times a day should I check my blood glucose levels? and so on,” says Hamish.
The second section of the app is Act. “Knowledge alone is often not enough to change behaviour. So, paired with each article is an achievable action to provide the user with the next step forward. Basically, it provides a way to put what they’ve learned into action,” he says.
Based on the questionnaires the user has answered and the articles that they read, the app provides suggested actions, which pop up as notifications. For example, the app can remind the user to drink more water, or to take lunch to work. Users can also track their workouts and steps, among other things. Users that register on the CDE Diabetes Management Programme can view their online health record with clinical feedback. “This is incredibly important, as ultimately, the suggested actions ideally need to translate into improved clinical outcomes, such as lower blood pressure.”
To assist in the maintenance of changed behaviour, the next section of the app, Share, encourages users to view and share their successes with friends and supporters. “It is so important that people living with diabetes are encouraged and supported on their journey. Lifestyle changes are hard to implement alone. The true beauty of changing one’s health comes through two-way support. I believe that if we had a community that encourages and supports healthy living, we would not be experiencing the current ‘global tsunami’ of Type 2 diabetes,” says Hamish.
The CDE Club App will have a list of rewards that are redeemable at no cost. As users read articles, complete actions, and achieve clinical targets, they will earn ‘badges’. By accumulating badges, users are rewarded with coupons for discounted prices on various brands.
“Short-term rewards keep people motivated, which will ultimately lead to lifestyle changes and improved health. This rewards section of the app aims to give users a sense of achievement and keep them motivated.” Best of all, these rewards are free!
Hamish says this app is a first of its kind and believes it will make a difference in the lives of people living with diabetes. “Diabetes can be managed and people with diabetes can live rich and fulfilling lives. The CDE Club App is a brilliant support tool,” he concludes.