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Mobile Health Programme for Better Type 2 Diabetes Patient Outcomes

Researchers at Duke-NUS Medical School have designed a programme to help patients in managing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) and improve health outcomes through goal setting and activities.

The Duke-NUS study – titled ‘Randomised Trial to Slow the Progression of Diabetes’ (TRIPOD) – aims to assess the effectiveness of the programme in improving outcomes for people with T2DM is currently looking to recruit over 300 patients with T2DM to join the mobile-health-based programme trial.

Leveraging on smartphone and smart health technology the researchers have developed a programme to promote self-management of the disease and improve health outcomes through a mobile-based lifestyle management programme.

Firstly, a custom-built smartphone app called M-POWER provides users (people with T2DM) with a one-stop portal to support and improve their self-management of the disease. Users are assigned weekly activity goals to facilitate positive lifestyle changes and long-term health goals to improve health outcomes. Activity trackers, glucometers, and medication adherence trackers capture key user data, which are subsequently displayed on the M-POWER app in graphical format for easy comprehension. The app includes gamification elements, such as enabling users to compare their personal results with those of other users, as well as showing them their current and best streaks (the number of consecutive weeks that they achieved their weekly targets).

“Technology can radically change the way we deliver healthcare by utilising cost-effective and scalable mobile health solutions,” said Professor Eric Finkelstein, Principal Investigator of the study by Duke-NUS’ Health Services and Systems Research Programme.

“What is required in Singapore is a low-cost strategy that effectively manages risk factors for chronic disease without overwhelming the public healthcare infrastructure.”

Applying economic theory, the researchers developed an incentive scheme and rewards programme, called M-POWER Rewards. Participants who have been assigned to the M-POWER Rewards programme can earn up to S$1,000 worth of credits that can be redeemed for outpatient, health and wellness-related expenses.

Prof Patrick Casey, Senior Vice Dean for Research at Duke-NUS, commented, “This innovative trial can help in identifying feasible interventions and incentive models that can potentially slow disease progression and reduce acute episodes among people with T2DM – and do so in a cost-effective manner.”

In order to qualify for the trial, individuals have to meet the stipulated criteria and will need to undergo regular follow-ups at the Singapore General Hospital, Changi General Hospital or any one of the SingHealth Polyclinics. The trial will last for two years for each participant, and the study is expected to take up to four years to complete.

Those interested to find out more or would like to join the study can visit the study website at https://webapps.duke-nus.edu.sg/tripod/ or email [email protected] [APBN]