Innovations in Diabetes Care and Management

Innovations in Diabetes Care and Management

BY STANISLAV GLEZER, M.D., MBA

WITH MORE THAN 100 million Americans affected by pre-dia­betes, diabetes continues to be a grow­ing health problem.

According to the Center for Disease Control’s Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System, more than 10 per­cent of people in New Jersey are affect­ed by this disease, with this proportion more than doubling in the past 20 years and recently surpassing the average dia­betes prevalence in the United States. This situation warrants immediate action, as diabetes is associated with devastating health consequences, such as kidney failure, cardiovascular disease, blindness, amputations and infections.

Many biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device companies are work­ing on developing new clinical tools to help patients control their blood glucose levels, reducing the risk of complications and disease progression. New Jersey is home to the Global and/or U.S. head­quarters for many of these organiza­tions, contributing significant efforts to innovations in diabetes care.

In the past few years, we have seen multiple new pharmaceutical products and drug classes emerge. Some of them have demonstrated in clinical trials sig­nificant reduction in kidney damage, cardiovascular events risk, survival bene­fits and so on. New medical devices improve the ability of patients to assess and monitor their levels of blood glu­cose and deliver injectable drugs, such as insulin or GLP1 antagonists more effi­ciently and conveniently. In addition, advances in chemistry and formulations allowed the start of transition of certain injectable products to oral forms.

Unfortunately, despite having more and better management tools, the level of average glycemic control in diabetes is getting worse and the economic bur­den is continuously increasing. The dis­connect between the benefits, demon­strated in clinical research, and the reali­ties of daily living and care for people with diabetes is striking.

Diabetes is a progressive, life-long condition. In that context we need to view it not just as a medical issue, but as a part of regular life for the people affected by it. This brings up the chal­lenges of relative priority of diabetes management, financial burden on the patient and the family, integration with the lifestyle, education and understand­ing of what it takes to keep diabetes under control and many other factors.

Clearly, healthcare systems cannot manage every one of these aspects and, even with the best efforts of healthcare professionals, people living with dia­betes need more support and empower­ment. Strong progress has been made in providing patients with better infor­mation and insights into their blood glucose levels and linking them to physical activity and nutritional data.

More importantly, data from these tools is becoming increasingly integrat­ed with the rest of medical information, allowing for enhanced patient self-man­agement and clinical decision making.

But even with high level of patient engagement and good use of these tools, people living with diabetes are often overwhelmed by the volume of information, navigation through the healthcare system, complexity of insur­ance coverage and reimbursement and other challenging aspects of dia­betes care. It is very reassuring to see that community-based organizations, such as the Diabetes Foundation, offer patient support, advocacy and system navigation to fill the system gaps and provide patients and their families with help, when they really need it.

It is clear that there is no single solu­tion to the increasing burden of dia­betes, and it takes the healthy ecosys­tem between healthcare providers, industry and community organizations working together to meaningfully bene­fit people affected by this disease.

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