Researchers received a $4 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease to study how mobile technology can help African-American and Hispanic adults follow their diabetes treatment plans, according to a press release.
Health coaches and clinical pharmacists will be assigned to the 220 enrolled patients from the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System to help them with managing their disease. Health coaches will also conduct home visits and may accompany patients to health care provider visits or the pharmacy to learn about how they are managing their diabetes.
“Family dynamics are often complicated,” Ben Gerber, MD, researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said in the release. “Patients may be uncomfortable in reaching out to family members, or people from their church or neighborhood. We’re trying to find out what the best way is to communicate with them and identify resources in the community that can assist. Family members are thankful that the community health workers are helping their loved ones.”
Researchers will evaluate technology, such as text messaging and video conferences, to see whether it can help improve medical adherence and healthy lifestyle habits.
“Videoconferencing will reduce the need for in-person visits with a pharmacist, as many low-income patients cannot physically make it to their appointments,” Gerber said in the release. “Also, our prior work suggests that text messaging is a desirable means of communication and may facilitate more frequent contact with patients.”