A new clinical trial is using digital tools to teach underserved communities how to keep type 2 diabetes in check.
Researchers at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita are looking for 70 Black residents in Wichita, KS, who have uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, a long-term disease that hinders your body’s natural flow of insulin. The CDC says about 13% of all U.S. adults have diabetes, with type 2 making up 90% to 95% of all cases.
People in the study will go through “eDECIDE,” an online version of Johns Hopkins Medicine’s “DECIDE” program, developed by Felicia Hill-Briggs, PhD, a professor at the Institute of Health System Science at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research.
Through problem-solving training, education, and other resources, DECIDE aims to empower patients to take control of their illness. For example, users learn more about diabetes and different terms related to the illness — like A1c and blood glucose monitoring — and how to have a positive approach to diabetes-related problems, such as forgetting to take your medication.
The 18-week program is offered in different settings, such as in-person one-on-one or group sessions, or a “self-study” where you receive materials in the mail. When they’re done, many users report promising results, including lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and A1c, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
The clinical trial will test whether taking the curriculum online (eDECIDE) produces the same outcomes as the traditional DECIDE program.
In addition to the digital courses, eDECIDE users will have a health coach who checks in bi-weekly and can help answer questions or work through any stumbling blocks people may face when starting new diabetes management, like committing to an exercise plan.
By developing an easy-access online program, the goal of the study is to reach more people in communities where there are major health disparities, says lead researcher Michelle Redmond, PhD, a community psychologist and assistant professor of population health at KU School of Medicine-Wichita.
Of all ethnic groups, Black people have the third highest rate (11.7%) of diagnosed diabetes, following American Indians and Alaska Natives (14.7%) and Hispanics (12.5%), the CDC report states.
“I see eDECIDE as something someone can carry in their pocket, or at home, or any place where they have a digital device, as a tool they can use to help them,” Redmond says. “Even if you’re working on managing your diabetes and have a roadblock, you still keep going and you still continue on the journey.”
Michelle Redmond, PhD, assistant professor of population health, KU School of Medicine-Wichita.
CDC: “National Diabetes Statistics Report 2020.”
Johns Hopkins Medicine, HealthyWorks: “DECIDE.”