A new re­port ques­tions whether dig­i­tal di­a­betes pro­grams are worth the cost

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Em­ploy­ers, in­sur­ers and in­vestors have long been pour­ing mon­ey in­to pro­grams aimed at help­ing Amer­i­cans bet­ter man­age their chron­ic con­di­tions. But a re­cent study found that many of the pro­grams avail­able to man­age type 2 di­a­betes don’t de­liv­er re­sults that jus­ti­fy the price tag.

The re­port by the Pe­ter­son Health Tech­nol­o­gy In­sti­tute re­leased Thurs­day eval­u­at­ed stud­ies from eight dig­i­tal tools used to care for peo­ple with type 2 di­a­betes. While the tools did re­duce lev­els of hbA1c, an in­di­ca­tor for blood sug­ar lev­els, the re­duc­tions were too small to be clin­i­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant. The pro­grams al­so dri­ve up over­all health­care costs, the study said. Vir­ta Health’s pro­gram, how­ev­er, which us­es a di­et-based ap­proach to man­age di­a­betes, showed promis­ing re­sults.

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