GUMC Diabetes Research Helps Its Campus Community
November 3, 2008 – University faculty and staff are among the first to use a new technology for diabetes management developed by researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC).
Through MyCareTeam, a company started in part by GUMC researchers in 2005, members of the Georgetown community can now use MCT-Diabetes, a software program that offers people with diabetes a more convenient and personalized means of therapy.
“We are delighted to be the first university in the country to offer our community the opportunity to improve their diabetes health using the MCT-Diabetes software,” says Charles DeSantis, associate vice president and chief benefits officer. “This product connects with Georgetown’s mission of providing our faculty and staff with access to the best tools to improve their health and ultimately reduce overall health costs for everyone.”
Those using the software can monitor and share their blood glucose levels electronically with anyone they designate -- doctors, relatives or others. The software also allows patients to keep track of medications, log blood pressure, track lab results and build and maintain an exercise log. Georgetown is offering the software to its employees through GUWellness just in time to recognize American Diabetes Month in November.
The idea for the telemedicine software first blossomed in the late 1990s when Betty Levine, head of the eHealth and Telemedicine division in the Imaging Science and Information Systems (ISIS) Center, began working with Dr. Stephen Clement, who treats diabetes patients at Georgetown University Hospital and is an associate professor in the endocrinology and metabolism division.
The pair joined forces to develop a technology that would improve diabetes management. Within six months, their first pilot study was under way, and five years of research now shows that moderate and heavy users of the MCT-Diabetes software experienced six-month reductions of 3.15 percentage points in a test that measures blood sugar levels.
"A three-point drop correlates to a 100-point difference in average blood sugar readings, which can be the difference between getting diabetic complications or not getting them," says Clement. "It is highly clinically significant."
More than 23 million Americans have diabetes, and another 57 million have prediabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. People with prediabetes possess higher-than-normal blood glucose levels and have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and strokes.
Although Georgetown is the first to offer the new diabetes technology as a free benefit to “employees, other health-related nonprofit organizations have incorporated the MCT-Diabetes software into their communities. The Whitehead Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently began offering MCT-Diabetes to its employees and the Barton Center for Diabetes Education offers the software to participants of its two diabetes camps -- Barton Camp and Camp Joslin -- in Massachusetts.