Now in Italy, the first country in Europe, DMCoach is a smartphone app designed to offer patients and the health system – whether public or private – a reliable, efficient and always at-hand tool for better managing Type 2 diabetes, a disease that affects the lives of millions of people conditioning their existence and the diffusion of which increases with age. After arriving in Italy, the release of DMCoach is already foreseen also in Belgium, Germany, Serbia and the Netherlands.
Some 58 million adults are affected by diabetes in Europe and as many as 36 million individuals are considered at risk. In particular, in the last thirty years the spread of diabetes in Italy has almost doubled. According to the latest available ISTAT data, more than 3.2 million people suffer from it. An increase that is explained partly by the aging of the population and partly by improvement in diagnosis. DMCoach fits into the scenario defined by these increasingly significant numbers, and the consequent increase in public health spending across Europe, estimated at around 145 billion euros per year.
DMCoach will come to support patients and health institutions, such as individual hospitals, both public and private, Local Health Authorities and Regions in the management of diabetes mellitus Type 2. In fact, DMCoach has been designed to optimize doctors’ interventions and time, allowing them to set personalized goals for individual patients, then monitor the results with greater efficiency. Through an ad hoc messaging system, the application will support and accompany the patient during the periods between face-to-face visits with their doctor. It is well known that greater awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and active involvement in measuring progress can contribute to a more rapid achievement of therapeutic goals, particularly among newly diagnosed patients and older patients.
This innovative approach is made possible by the more than ten years of Engineering’s experience in accompanying the medical health world through the information technology revolution as an enabling and balancing element for the whole system, as well as support from the Fondazione Bruno Kessler and IMEC Netherland.
The app aims to raise the level of involvement on a type of disease that lends itself – through constant analysis of lifestyle indicators and some clinical parameters – to a more innovative control, but which is often still treated by doctors with traditional systems such as medical examinations at regular intervals and one-off training of patients in dedicated centers.
Furthermore, based on data collected so far, it is estimated that offering patients an instrument that is able to increase their awareness of the importance of the lifestyle adopted, and which actively involves them in measuring progress, can contribute to a more rapid achievement of goals, especially among those recently diagnosed and those over the age of 60 who, statistically, have greater difficulty in managing the disease.
Matteo Melideo, Head of the Research Unit at Engineering Ingegneria Informatica S.p.A. and of the initiative, stresses: “Patient involvement is essential in disease prevention. With our application we aim to avoid the aggravation of Type 2 diabetes, reduce the exacerbation that causes chronic diseases and, naturally, optimize the therapeutic burden for health systems by reducing social costs. Goals consistent with the vision of our Group, which for decades has been at the forefront of accompanying the medical health world through the ever-new open frontiers of Information Technology, an enabling element for the entire sector as a key factor for implementing new integrated assistance models and care, as well as balance, because e-Health – especially when pushed on consumer applications such as DMCoach – facilitates the ideal meeting between the patient’s ever higher expectations and the limited resources available”.
A project such as that of DMCoach is perfectly consistent with the mission of EIT Digital, which is to lead Europe’s digital transformation and generate positive effects on society.
“When investing in innovation activities, we pay special attention to projects that have a real impact on people’s lives“, explains Johan Kortas, Action Line Leader for Digital Wellbeing at EIT Digital. “This is why we support innovation activities like that of DMCoach, which aim to make a real difference”.
There are other dedicated software solutions on the market, but despite there being more than 1,100 applications in 27 countries, the paradoxical fact is that only 1.2% of patients use one. DMCoach stands out for features and functionalities such as:
- It can connect to wearable devices to measure parameters such as physical activity, stress, heart rate.
- Doctors can send individual messages and customize the patient’s goals and thresholds.
- Human contact is guaranteed by the input of the clinical supervisor.
- The app is an aid to doctor-patient communication and not a substitute.
- It allows easy access and sharing of information between patient and doctor.
- It provides personalized coaching based on key parameters related to the patient’s lifestyle.
- Adaptive user interaction based on patient predisposition to behavior change.