ADA, Numera add social media app to diabetes management

The American Diabetes Association of Washington state is trying out a unique add-on to diabetes management, creating a mobile app that ties diabetic coaching and engagement techniques to online social media activity on sites such as Facebook.

Partnering with Numera, a telehealth and social media vendor, the ADA has created the ADA/Numera Social app, which will use Facebook to connect users to their friends, family and others in their support network, allowing them to update their exercise status, participate in diet and exercise challenges, and other activities, according to an ADA statement.

One of the first big tests of the new app is a segment that guides users through a training regiment for a bike race, the ADA's "Tour de Cure." Users can share their training plan, progress toward endurance goals and other information with their networks.

They also can share their weight goals, weight results and join challenges with other Facebook groups within the ADA. The app includes a space for posting achievements, as well, allowing users to tout their successes to their entire social media network.

The hope is that involving family and friends will encourage diabetics to stick with their chosen programs longer and, as a result, enjoy greater success.

The concept may have legs: MyPerfectDoc.com, a marketing program for physicians, found that tying social media to campaigns for its physician customers improved provider response and engagement by more than 300 percent, according to Healthcare IT News.

Overall, the ADA has chosen a unique approach, unlike some of the more directed, coaching text messaging programs and apps that have debuted in the past year. Instead of using a clinical educator or a software program to guide users toward appropriate behavior, the ADA program relies more on friends and family in the social media environment.

To learn more:
- read the ADA announcement
- get more detail from the ADA-Washington State's Facebook page
- check out the Healthcare IT News article on physician engagement via social media

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