Diabetes Remote Monitoring

This article has been re-published to keep the original Connected Health partnership work alive.

Program Objectives

The goal of the program is to allow patients and providers to work collaboratively to improve control of blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes.

This program incorporates patient glucose uploads and a personalized website for patients and providers. The program gives patients better access to their trended data and allows them to learn more about how their day-to-day activities affect their blood glucose levels. Providers have more real-time information about their patients and can make changes to those patients’ care plans without waiting for scheduled appointments.


Diabetes is a chronic illness that affects the daily lives of more than 20 million adults and children in the United States – and this number is growing rapidly.  People with diabetes do not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that helps to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy, which causes glucose to build up in the blood instead of going into cells. High levels of sugar in the blood over time can lead to serious health complications. Understanding how to keep blood glucose (sugar) levels within normal range and minimize fluctuations throughout the day is essential to managing Type 2 Diabetes and mitigating the onset of related problems such as eye, nerve, kidney and blood vessel damage (American Diabetic Association).

Program Overview

The glucose monitoring program targets patients with diabetes, who may be recently diagnosed, may be initiating insulin, or have had their glucose levels trend out of control.

Patients in the program are given a communications device that transmits glucometer readings to Partners HealthCare.

Patients upload their glucometer data on a regular basis and enter observations in an online personal health journal. The patient and provider have shared access to blood sugar levels, graphs, and journal content. At any time, patients may log into their personal websites to see their blood sugar data, comment on their highs and lows, track medication changes, or enter other journal information. Providers can see up-to-date information about the patient and send secure messages to the patient. The site was designed to encourage patient and provider engagement.

This service is currently being offered to and used by patients and providers at Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and practices affiliated with Partners Community Healthcare, Inc.  If patients or providers at those practices are interested in learning more, contact 617-643-0291.


As part of an AHRQ grant in its 4th year for which I am the PI we have been utilizing a similar process – screening patients with chronic wounds for hypeglycemia, if present we have our CDE contact patient, develop and impliment an evidence based plan of care and set the patient up for vital sign monitoing over POTS to a secure internet accessable ASP database where results can be assessed longitudinally.

Posted by: Charles A Bryant

Texas tried a pilot program of heart disease and diabetes remote montoring in Laredo a few years back using the Health Buddy system. It posted positive results. Here is a brief overview from 2002:

Mercy Health System improves compliance and decreases visits using wireless devices. (www.mercylaredo.com) The Laredo, Texas hospital uses a low cost, Web-enabled device called the Health Buddy® appliance to help indigent or economically disadvantaged patients with heart disease self-manage their conditions. Health indicators such as weight, blood pressure, and fatigue are tracked and monitored by a case management nurse who intervenes with instructions such as diet modification or other behavioral changes as needed. If the monitoring reveals any significant change in a patient’s condition, the device actually instructs the patient to call the physician, and the nurse follows up to ensure that the patient does in fact see the doctor. The results? Medication compliance increased from 34% to 94%, 93% of patients said the Health Buddy appliance helped them better manage their disease, and hospitalization rates were reduced.
–Healthcare Strategy Alert Newsletter

Posted by James Cooley

Great initiative.

Diabetes, especially in the early stage, is a complex condition and patients need coaching and encouragement to manage the condition and prevent deterioration.

Following glucose levels is part of the therapy, but why not also montor aspects such as medication, weight loss, fitness, and diet?

Posted by Chris Johnson