February is Heart Month – a perfect time to learn more about steps you can take to lower your risk for heart disease. For people with diabetes, this means taking charge of their health and getting the condition under control.
Diabetes is a leading health threat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes – and this number continues to increase every year. When left uncontrolled and untreated, it can lead to long-term health issues including heart, kidney, eye and nerve damage.
To help people gain control over their diabetes, the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network offers the Ambulatory Diabetes Outreach Program (ADOP). The program combines digital technology with telephone and in-person check-ins to provide participants with more frequent care.
ADOP participants are identified by primary care providers as well as blood sugar test levels. Although the main goal is to help people with poorly controlled diabetes, nearly anyone with diabetes stands to benefit.
A key part of the program is managed through Glooko – a remote monitoring app. People can access it on their computer or phone and use it to track their blood sugar, nutrition, exercise and more. Having access to this information helps them better understand how their lifestyle choices directly affect their blood sugar. For example, they can compare how their blood sugar reacts after eating pizza at one meal versus a salad at another. Understanding the direct relationship between food, exercise and blood sugar helps motivate patients to make better choices throughout each day.
There are also weekly or bi-weekly check-ins with a “coach” to help patients learn more about living with diabetes, as well as setting and working toward goals. This coach could be a nurse, pharmacist or certified diabetes educator. In collaboration with the patient’s primary care provider, the coach can help with any medication changes that need to be made.
On average, participants are in ADOP for four months. The length of the monitoring depends on the individual and how quickly they engage with the program and achieve their goals. Most people who stick with the program find that they are able to gain control of their diabetes and significantly lower their risk for the many other health conditions.