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    Four ways tech improves chronic disease management


    Artificial pancreas makes monitoring diabetes easier

    Type 1 diabetics will be able to monitor insulin levels without checking blood sugar and administering insulin multiple times per day thanks to a new wearable pump called an artificial pancreas.

    The Medtronic MiniMed 670G system uses algorithms to deliver insulin to patients on a continuous loop. The system can be programmed by the user to deliver insulin at a predetermined rate, or can be programmed to automatically adjust based on insulin need. A glucose sensor is inserted into the skin near the abdomen to monitor glucose levels and administer medicine. A separate, handheld device displays alerts and tracks glucose trends.

    “The system delivers a variable rate of insulin 24 hours a day based on the personalized needs of the individual, maximizing the time glucose levels are within the target range. It is designed to learn what an individual’s insulin needs are and to take action to minimize both high and low glucose levels,” says Hooman Hakami, executive vice president and group president of Medtronic Diabetes. “As a result, the system requires minimal input. Users only need to enter mealtime carbohydrates, accept bolus correction recommendations, and periodically calibrate the sensor.”

    The device was approved by the FDA in September 2016, and will be available to purchase this spring, according to Hakami.

    Dementia testing helps clinicians identify, track symptoms

    Most dementia and cognitive impairment testing is paper-based, but that could change soon.  Quest Diagnostics developed CogniSense, a digital dementia assessment test that can be downloaded on iPads and other tablets, and aligns with nearly 600 electronic health records.

    “CogniSense was piloted by Primary PartnerCare, which is the largest ACO focused on primary care in Long Island, New York,” Ginns says. “Over the four-month pilot, CogniSense helped identify numerous cases of cognitive impairment due to a number of causes, and may have reduced referrals to neurologists.”

    The app is currently available in the iTunes store and costs $15 per patient assessment, but Ginns says most health plans reimburse the cost.

    Next: COPD testing leads to earlier diagnoses


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