Diabetes Digital App Technology: Benefits, Challenges, and Recommendations. A Consensus Report by the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Diabetes Technology Working Group

G. Alexander Fleming, John R. Petrie, Richard M. Bergenstal, Reinhard W. Holl, Anne L. Peters, Lutz Heinemann. Diabetes Care 2020 Jan; 43(1): 250-260.


Commentary by Neal Kaufman


As the availability of digital therapeutics increase at an extraordinary rapid rate it becomes critical that these approaches are able to demonstrate safety and efficacy. This is a major challenge regardless of the clinical diagnosis and requires commitments from nearly all sectors of the healthcare, financing, and research ecosystem. This consensus statement from European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Diabetes Technology Working Group, provides a road map for such a diabetes-related endeavor specifically for smart phone apps which are not associated with devices such as insulin pumps, glucose sensors or automated Insulin Delivery Algorithms.


The authors highlight several issues the diabetes community, including regulatory authorities, policy makers, professional organizations, researchers, people with diabetes, and health care professionals, needs to address to ensure that diabetes health technology can meet its full potential. These issues range from inadequate evidence on app accuracy and clinical validity to lack of training, poor interoperability and standardization, and insufficient data security. They conclude with a series of recommended actions to resolve some of these shortcomings.


This consensus report highlights an important issue: digital health technologies, especially mobile health (mHealth) applications for smartphones, are proliferating at an astounding rate, yet the evidence to support their use by persons with diabetes or their clinical teams lags painfully behind. This creates a conundrum: a significant fraction of the healthcare economy involves investment in these new technologies without a proportional increase in the investment of financial resources to rigorously study their safety and efficacy.


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