Flo can help with establishing better habits – checking blood glucose, reducing weight, stopping smoking, reducing alcohol.
Some patients like the approach of having regular messages, while others prefer their own ways of taking control of their condition. In this video of Flo in use in Wales, some patients comment on how useful they found Flo for their glucose monitoring.
A number of blood glucose monitors store readings, so that patients can understand trends, and reflect on their food and its effect on their health. A new type of patch, which can be left on for two weeks, has a thin fibre permanently inserted into the skin, which monitors blood glucose, and is scanned by a mobile phone, producing more extensive information about trends in blood glucose, and enabling patients to see more clearly how their lifestyle affects their diabetes, without the need for a pin-prick each time. At present, in most areas, patients have to purchase the patches themselves, if they can afford the £93 per month.
Some patients with diabetes become very knowledgeable about managing their condition, and a closed Facebook group could work well for a group of practices. There would need to be clinical input, but the experience of clinicians involved in Facebook groups for other conditions suggests that patients are, on the whole, sensible people who want to enjoy as normal a life as possible, and would not follow advice about medication except from a clinician. However, learning from others in a similar position about having a suitable diet, or sharing experiences, can reduce the anxious phone calls that take up much of the clinician’s time.
Skype consultations are a useful way of managing patients who don’t need to be seen in surgery. This video of a specialist diabetes nurse using Skype is interesting, because she has data from Flo as well, and is then able to have a well-informed consultation with the patient, who can stay at home, instead of making a difficult journey to a central clinic.