Diabetes Download: How Tech Can Help

Adult Health - April 4th, 2024

Reading Time: 4 Minute/s

Diabetes Download: How Tech Can Help

Adult Health

Diabetes Download: How Tech Can Help

Posted on April 4th, 2024 - Reading Time: 4 Minute/s

Tools to help manage your diabetes at home or on-the-go.

Managing diabetes

Diabetes is a serious chronic condition that can be challenging and frustrating to manage. Fortunately, there are tools that can help.

We talked to Edie, Registered Dietitian Health Coach at Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW)–and a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist–to learn how technology can make managing diabetes easier and more convenient.

Can technology really help?

Technology for diabetes self-care has come a long way. Tired of multiple finger sticks every day? Want to see the impact of the walk you just took? Wish you could take an A1C test without leaving home? You’re not alone, and new tools are making these things possible.

For example, there are continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices, insulin pumps and “smart” insulin pens, and an at-home hemoglobin (Hgb) A1C home testing kit. These tools provide data that can help you make decisions about your diabetes self-management in real time and without added doctor visits or significant out-of-pocket expenses.

Technology plays a crucial role in simplifying diabetes management. These devices such as smartphone apps and CGMs can help you keep track of your blood sugar levels. It’s like having a superhero sidekick! These tools make it easier to stay healthy and feel better.

– Edie, Registered Dietitian Health Coach and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist at Community Health Plan of Washington

Continuous glucose monitoring

Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) can help with type 1 or type 2 diabetes self-management. CGM has become a common tool for individuals who take insulin daily or have severe, unpredictable hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). It can be helpful to those struggling to lower their A1C or trying to better balance medication, food, and exercise.

How does a CGM device work?

Instead of finger sticks, with CGM you use a reader device or smartphone to get instant, painless blood sugar readings from a tiny sensor. There is less discomfort and more information.

An ultra thin, flexible sensor is inserted just beneath the skin, usually attached to the upper arm or abdomen. A transmitter is then attached so the sensor can send information to a reader device or smartphone. Depending on the type of CGM you choose, you replace the sensor every 10-14 days, with or without assistance from your pharmacist.

Two popular CGMs used by CHPW members are:

  • Freestyle Libre – Position the reader over the transmitter to get a reading any time. No calibration needed.
  • Dexcom – Automatically records your blood sugar levels throughout the day; no manual scan required. Shows trends and alerts you if your blood sugar drops quickly. Can be paired with a compatible smart device (e.g., smartphone) if desired.

Each CGM kit comes with a reader device included, and your provider or pharmacy can help you learn how to use it.

➔ Learn more about wearing a CGM

How does a CGM device help with my diabetes?

Using data from CGM tends to improve health outcomes and A1C. Why? Because you have access to much more information to guide your decisions and care. You can easily check your levels and trends in real time throughout the day—without finger sticks.

A CGM device is different from a conventional blood glucose meter, it tells you your real time blood sugar at any given moment.

Knowing what’s happening in your body is empowering. For example, the information you get from a CGM can help you:

  • Decide how to use exercise, food choices, and medication management to keep your blood sugar in a healthier range
  • Prevent severe blood sugar highs and lows, increasing your safety
  • Lower your risk of developing diabetes complications that can affect your eyes, heart, nerves, or kidneys
  • Stress management improving emotional wellbeing

Who’s eligible for CGM? How can you access this tool?

A CGM device is a good tool to consider if you:

  • Have type 1 or type 2 diabetes
  • Take insulin injections daily or use an insulin pump
  • Have severe high and low blood sugars or hypoglycemic unawareness

Could CGM help you or someone you love? We can help.

CHPW members can contact their Primary Care Provider, Endocrinologist, Care Manager, Health Coach, or our Customer Service team to see if they qualify for a free or low-cost CGM device.

You can reach CHPW Diabetes Care Program Care Managers at 1-866-418-7008, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Diabetes Care Program team is made up of Case Managers and Health Coaches, who are registered nurses, certified diabetes care education specialists, and registered dietitians. They will work with you to make sure you understand your health benefits, navigate the health care system, and help to coordinate your care.

Not a member yet?

Reach out to our Customer Service Team and let them know you’re interested in becoming a member and accessing a free or low-cost CGM device.

You can reach CHPW Customer Service at 1-800-440-1561 (TTY: 711), Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Learn more

Talk to your doctor if you or someone you know needs help managing diabetes.

If you’d like to know more about the support available to CHPW members with diabetes, or want more general information about the condition, please see:

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