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Technology Can Lower Costs, Improve Care for Diabetes Patients

According to data presented at the 2019 AHIP Institute & Expo, many patients with diabetes do not meet their glucose goals and often face high annual health care costs. However, the FreeStyle Libre 14 Day Flash Glucose Monitoring  system by Abbott aims to help this patient population and address these issues. 

The presenters of the session explained that 49% of adult patients with diabetes are not at the recommended HbA1c goal of <7% and 67% do not meet American Diabetes Association-recommended testing frequency of 6-10 times per day for patients on multiple-dose insulin on pump therapy. 

“A key challenge to improving HbA1c levels is the increased risk for costly hypoglycemic events, which contribute to patient morbidity and mortality,” the presenters explained. 

Additionally, the presenters told conference attendees that patients who test frequently are still missing their full glycemic profile. 

A solution that the presenters said could help these patients is the FreeStyle Libre 14 Day Flash Glucose Monitoring system. The system, which is available with a prescription and covered by Medicare for patients who meet eligibility criteria, shows patterns and historic trends to provide more in-depth glycemic details for patients. 

According to data presented at the session, it has been clinically proven that HbA1c has reduced among patients with diabetes who use this technology. The presenters noted that use of the FreeStyle Libre, “significantly reduced HbA1c across a variety of studies and a broad population.” 

Finally, the session presenters highlighted the costs associated with hypoglycemia. They said that the annual cost of severe hypoglycemia is roughly $18.2 million. However, they explained that patients who use the FreeStyle Libre have reduced the cost of hypoglycemic care due to a reduction in duration and number of hypoglycemic events because of proactively monitoring their levels instead of waiting for alarms. 

“Payers need ways to mitigate growing burden of diabetes, where hypoglycemia drives significant costs,” the presenters said. “The FreeStyle Libre 14 day system reduced the time spent in hypoglycemia and increased patient engagement in T1D and T2D patients.”—Julie Gould 

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