Technology has been a game changer in helping people with diabetes manage their blood sugar, receive life-saving insulin at the right time, eat better and stay active, but the number of devices and apps is overwhelming. What kind of continuous glucose monitor (CGM) might work best for a person who regularly works 10-hour days? How can a diabetes educator in a busy clinic quickly familiarize herself with a new patient’s insulin pump? Is there a carb-counting app that helps a person with diabetes keep track of what he’s eating? Diabetes educators now have the answers at their fingertips via the Diabetes Advanced Network Access (DANA), a one-stop healthcare resource that helps navigate the many new technologies people with diabetes and prediabetes can use to get and stay healthy.
“DANA makes it easy for diabetes educators to keep up with the ever-growing technology options that can significantly enhance outcomes,” said Donna Ryan, MPH, RN, RD, CDE, FAADE, 2018 AADE president. “Because these new technologies produce so much data, diabetes educators have become data interpreters, helping people with diabetes understand what the information means and how to best use it to manage their diabetes. DANA will be a key resource in that.”
According to a survey of diabetes educators conducted by AADE before developing DANA, 91 percent said they would recommend technology that they had learned about, but 85 percent said they didn’t have a central resource to turn to. Staying up to date on technology has required a time-consuming and scattershot approach ranging from scouring manufacturers websites and talking to company representatives to reading articles and participating in webinars.
“Technology is a godsend that helps people with diabetes better manage their condition by being accountable and tracking reliable, accurate data in real time, but it’s extremely time-consuming to stay current,” said Lucille Hughes, DNP, MSN/Ed, RN, CDE, director of diabetes education for South Nassau Communities Hospital, Oceanside, N.Y. “DANA helps ensure my visits with people who have diabetes or prediabetes are informative and the best use of our time together.”
Hughes recommended a fitness app to a patient with prediabetes who then lost 13 pounds by tracking her meals and activity. It was an eye-opener that kept her accountable and made all the difference, she told Hughes.
DANA features five content sections:
- Product clearinghouse: Provides reviews of more than 200 products and growing designed to improve outcomes, including CGMs, blood glucose monitors, insulin pumps and medication delivery devices. Specifications for each product are outlined in a consistent manner to allow diabetes educators to find information quickly and efficiently. The section also provides links to the manufacturer’s website for more information.
- Education: Enables exploration of technology-related on-demand and live courses and webinars for continuing education at all levels, including links to those resources.
- Innovation: Features up-to-date technology news and provides information on focus groups and polls in which diabetes educators can participate to help shape new innovations through market research and testing.
- Resources: Allows educators to browse peer reviewed publications, guidelines and practical tools pertinent to the role of educators on the care team, as they assist their patients navigating the technology landscape. This section also includes a discussion board where users can connect on their technology challenges, access updates and share tips.
- App Review: Provides information on a variety of mobile apps, including those focusing on: diabetes management; fitness, food, lifestyle and wellness; and conditions ranging from blood pressure to depression. Each app is reviewed on more than 150 points including functionality, usability, operability and privacy and security by an independent reviewing organization. A specific custom review for each diabetes app notes how information is shared, the ease of inputting information and which of the AADE7 Self-Care Behaviors™ it addresses. Diabetes educators can download the apps and send patients links to download them.
AADE will continually add content to DANA and is committed to ensuring the resource is a robust, always-current destination that allows diabetes educators to participate in a variety of ways. DANA is currently only available to AADE members. Learn more about DANA at DANATech.org.
AADE is a multi-disciplinary professional membership organization dedicated to improving diabetes care through innovative education, management and support. With more than 14,000 professional members including nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, exercise specialists, and others, AADE has a vast network of practitioners working with people who have, are affected by or are at risk for diabetes. Learn more at www.diabeteseducator.org, or visit us on Facebook (American Association of Diabetes Educators), Twitter (@AADEdiabetes) and Instagram (@AADEdiabetes).