Digital aide may improve diabetes, hypertension treatment

Of the many challenges facing individuals with hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, nearly half of these patients fail to meet treatment goals due to medication non-adherence, poor patient engagement and lack of treatment optimization. 

Data from a recent study show a digital health offering may improve care for these patients by reducing blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels and boosting control of blood pressure when compared to those who received usual treatment.

The study, presented at the 2016 American College of Cardiology’s 65th Scientific Sessions, focused on the Proteus Discover, from Proteus Digital Health, which consists of a wearable sensor, sensor-enabled medicines, patient app and provider portal. This digital health offering directly measures medications, activity and rest patterns to support self-management and optimize provider therapy.

“These results are impressive since many interventions to improve adherence to medications and control of blood pressure and cholesterol have not been successful,” said study investigator Lars Osterberg, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine in California.

Osterberg and his research team analyzed data from 96 patients with hypertension and Type 2 diabetes. Individuals received the digital health offering and medications for either four or 12 weeks, or they received usual care. The most significant result was an increase in control of systolic blood pressure. After four weeks, 84.7 percent of the digital health group achieved the targeted blood pressure, compared to 33.3 percent of the usual care group.

The research team also found the digital health group had greater reductions in diastolic blood pressure and LCL cholesterol than the usual care subjects.

“The literature suggests that lack of patient engagement, such as nonadherence to medications and poor health behaviors, combined with the lack of therapy optimization, can be significant factors in poor control of diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia,” Osterberg told Endocrinology Advisor. “In fact, the World Health Organization reported that around half of patients with chronic diseases do not take their medicines as prescribed. Interventions to help improve medication adherence and other patient behaviors may be able to improve patient outcomes.”

The study results may also be attributed to improved patient behavior at home. Participants in the digital health group had more discussions about lifestyle changes and received adherence counseling than the usual care group.

The study concluded digital health interventions can improve clinical outcomes by engaging patients in their own care and supporting beneficial behaviors, which can increase medication adherence promote physical activity.

“The digital health offering in our study combined higher patient engagement and improved provider decision-making to achieve improved control of blood pressure and lipids in patients with uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension,” said Osterberg.