The Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership (NGHP) has been selected to administer a new pilot program on the impact that the use of technological devices may have on the management of diabetes, NGHP officials announced today.
Program cosponsors Verizon and the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) have selected Murray County to be their first “rural community” to aid in a nationwide study of the link between technology and the management of the disease.
“This is great news for the Partnership and it’s also great news for the thousands of people in our region who suffer from diabetes, in particular adult onset, or Type II diabetes,” remarks Greg Dent, Executive Director of the NGHP.
“We are delighted to be a part of a study that could affect the lives of millions of diabetes patients in the years to come,” Dent continues. “And locally, we are delighted that many of our own residents will benefit from being a part of this important study.”
As a region, Northwest Georgia has a high incidence of Type II diabetes, well above the national average, says Dent.
Diabetes is a serious disease that affects nearly 30 million people in this country, about nine percent of the entire population, with 86 million Americans over the age of 20 having pre-diabetes, a condition that increases their chances of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease in the future.
While Verizon has already initiated similar studies in several major urban and metropolitan areas, the NGHP-run program will be the first that focuses on less densely populated areas.
The study is called the Community Health Worker Patient Centered Diabetes Management Program, with Verizon and the NRHA teaming up to determine what impact the use of modern technology apps and tablets has in helping patients better manage their Type II diabetes.
Persons with Type II diabetes who wish to be in the study must be at least 18 years old and be referred by their doctors in order to participate. Three hundred patients will be admitted to the study, and they will be randomly placed in one of three groups, two of which will be “control” groups.
“While not all of those who are admitted into the study will receive the technological tools or the focused personalized attention that others in the study will, the very act of participating in the process will help future generations of diabetes patients,” says Dent.
The University of South Carolina will be tabulating results from the year-long study, which seeks to determine if diabetes patients who use technological devices, such as a tablet, in the management of their disease have better outcomes than those who do not.
“If participating in this study helps to better the lives or to enrich the lives of those who join it, the process will be very worthwhile,” Dent says.
Those who are interested in taking part in the study should contact the NGHP at 706-272-6662.