Scaling Up the National Diabetes Prevention Program through Telehealth

Today, over 50% of American adults are diagnosed with a preventable chronic disease and two-thirds of adults are either overweight or obese. The cost of diabetes alone stands at over $200 billion per year. America is facing an unprecedented chronic disease crisis and is finally waking up to the realization that change is needed. Fortunately, the tide is shifting as insurance providers, technology companies, the government, and healthcare providers are transforming the way Americans can access fundamental nutritional care.

Since 2010, the CDC has offered the 86 million Americans diagnosed with pre-diabetes a program that facilitates education, behavioral and lifestyle choices through the Diabetes Prevention Program. The program includes in-person community-driven programs, supplemented with group classes and weekly meetings. It seeks to encourage structured lifestyle changes, which has been found to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes by over 58%. While its success is evident, the mere scope of the population at risk of diabetes is problematic. In 2015, the CDC augmented offerings by endorsing digital programs that met evidence-based standards.

This need for innovation has paved the way for digital health companies like Healthie to create efficient, scalable, and holistic solutions. DPPP has recognized that telemedicine and virtual care fundamentally increase the scope of care that can be offered to these population in need, particularly in facilitating longitudinal ways to track a population’s health and improvement over time. Just as importantly, telemedicine reduces the barrier in accessing programs like the DPP, as many individuals can have difficulty incorporating consistent in-person visits and programs into their daily lives.

Healthie is proud to be supporting the efforts of pre-diabetic Americans around the country through partnerships with healthcare systems, clinics, corporate wellness programs, and coaching programs that are increasingly embracing online programs that execute the CDC’s mission of curbing the impact of the preventable chronic disease. Digitizing the DPP’s goals provides vehicles for accountability, social support, and communication – through connected smart devices, text messaging, and other social tools. These programs are effective, and technology increases the reach of these programs to enhance results.

Come January 2018, Medicare will reimburse for the CDC’s Diabetes Prevention Program, an initiative, which today, prides itself on its telehealth option. The CDC’s and CMS’s endorsements are just the first of many inevitable strides digital health will continue to boast in the near future. It is our mission at Healthie to embrace this radical shift in technology and care to address the health care crisis at hand.

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