NYC Health + Hospitals' new program applies telehealth, digital tools for diabetes management

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NYC Health + Hospitals unveiled July 24 its primary-care centered diabetes management program, which will enhance care for more than 60,000 New York City residents with diabetes through increased clinical pharmacy staff, telehealth technology and mobile-based health monitoring apps.

Through the program, diabetes patients who receive care in the city's public hospitals and community health centers will have access to 20 new clinical pharmacists, who will be added to the public health system by the end of 2020.

Primary care sites across the city will also begin offering teleretinal screenings as part of a routine primary care visit for patients with diabetes rather than having to schedule a separate ophthalmology appointment. The telehealth-powered eye-screening program will be implemented in late 2019 across 11 hospitals, two health centers and a correctional health services facility.

New York City Health + Hospitals has also implemented technology initiatives to aid the program, such as its phone-based peer mentorship program and smartphone app for health management. The health system partnered with social therapeutics company InquisitHealth, which houses a network of people living with diabetes who serve as mentors for diabetes management. After the patient's primary care provider refers him or her to InquistiHealth, the patient gets connected with his or her own mentor.

The health system also launched BlueStar, a mobile app that offers patients real-time, individualized coaching, reminders and support to help manage and monitor their diabetes. Patients can connect the app to their pharmacies medication tracking, blood glucose meters, labs and activity trackers.

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