Online game helps diabetes patients lower blood glucose

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Participation in a team-based online game designed to educate patients about diabetes care can help improve blood glucose control, suggests research published in the journal Diabetes Care.

For the study, researchers from Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System enrolled 456 diabetic veterans on oral diabetes medication with inadequate blood glucose control. Half the patients were assigned to the diabetes education game and given a printed pamphlet about civics. The other half — a control group — were assigned to a civics education game and given a printed pamphlet about diabetes management.

After 12 months, participants given the diabetes education game experienced a 0.74 percent reduction in hemoglobin A1c. The control group experienced a reduction of 0.44 percent.

"Diabetes is an enormous problem among veterans as well as within the population in general," said B. Price Kerfoot, MD, an associate professor of surgery at Brigham and Women's and one of the study's authors. "We've developed an easily scalable intervention that was well accepted among patients and led to sustained improvements in their diabetes control. This game represents a small time commitment for patients, but potentially a big impact for their health."

More articles on patient engagement: 
Six ways providers can transform their organizations with CRM 
Up to 38% of parents don't know child's correct medication dosage 
10 steps to create a patient-focused healthcare experience using technology

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