Intermountain uses digital tools for prediabetes intervention

Using wireless devices that can track patients’ weight and diet, Utah's largest health system is trying to prevent the onset of diabetes among patients at a higher risk for the disease.

Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City has partnered with digital therapeutics company Omada Health to identify patients with prediabetes and provide them with tools to track their weight and diet, according to AMA Wire. The program builds on previous efforts by the health system to enroll patients in classes that emphasize lifestyle changes.

The new partnership, which incorporates wireless scales and an online personal health coach, gives physicians more information about a patient’s habits while providing real-time resources for those with prediabetes. A study published last year that was sponsored by Omada showed digital tools can help achieve weight loss and reduce the risk of diabetes.

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“One of the biggest frustrations for physicians is when we can diagnose a condition that we know has high stakes for the patient, but we don’t have effective tools—whether it’s a medicine or a program or a referral—to help the patient,” Timothy E. Graham, M.D., an endocrinologist at Intermountain, told AMA Wire. 

Researchers have said that less than a quarter of prediabetes patients receive treatment from their primary care physician. However, some clinicians have argued the CDC’s public awareness campaign regarding prediabetes could lead to overdiagnosis.

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At the World Economic Forum in Davos last month, health IT leaders, including Omada CEO Sean Duffy, said real-time data would be key moving healthcare into the future.