In December 2019, Diabetes UK (DUK) convened an group of 55 diabetes experts (39 researchers and healthcare professionals, 8 experts living with diabetes and 8 DUK staff members to facilitate) to identify the key gaps in evidence and priority research questions in the field of diabetes technology. The following key areas were identified and an list of recommendations made. Although listed briefly here, the full context and recommendations described in the paper make for interesting reading, and readers are advised to read them in full.
Matching the pace of research with that of technology development
- Technology continues to develop faster than research is able to evaluate each device’s clinical and cost effectiveness. Recommendations were made to improve the speed of this evaluation and its incorporation into care.
Time in Range
- Time in Range (TIR) was recognised as an increasingly important metric. Research is needed to establish the potential benefit of using TIR as a marker of clinical outcomes in place of or in addition to HbA1c.
- If benefits are found, research into the best way to train healthcare professionals in its use will be needed.
Health inequalities and high-risk groups
- Identifying specific groups who would benefit most from technology.
- Addressing the requirement for high levels of literacy, numeracy, technical ability and health literacy to fully benefit from these devices.
How to train people to use technology most effectively
- The need for research into the best ways to support people to use and benefit from diabetes technology.
Impact of technology on mental health
- Potential negative effects of technology, and reliance on it, could affect mental wellbeing, particularly with regard to anxiety and burnout.
- The potential for web- and app-based interventions to improve mental wellbeing.
Future areas for focus
In addition to the areas above, a number of issues were identified for discussion in the future:
- Lack of research into the benefits of diabetes technology for people with type 2 diabetes.
- Technology in young people with type 2 diabetes.
- Supporting children/families with diabetes technology.
- Patient-reported outcome measures and the importance of assessing quality of life.
- Data sharing and access.
- Health economics and societal impact.
- What users want in the design of technology.
- Using technology to understand people’s environments and to make them healthier.
Click here to read the report in full.