Can a mobile app help heal? Clinical trial results prove it

Advances in information technology, better and better cell phones that we never part with, and more and more interesting ways to use mobile applications have made the medical world see the potential of new opportunities.

Our phones have become not only carriers of information and warnings, but also assistants in our daily lives that, when used correctly, can support a healthy lifestyle or help us treat certain diseases.

Recently, Germany was the first country in the world to introduce a new type of reimbursable medical device that can be prescribed by a general practitioner – so-called “medical apps” that help treat and support patients suffering from certain diseases. One of these diseases is type 2 diabetes.

In the medical community, it is used to say that this disease affects people who have “earned” it over many years of their lives. Unhealthy lifestyle, improper diet and no or very limited physical activity are the main sins of future diabetics. Fortunately, quick diagnosis of the disease gives hope for effective therapy, and even – with implementation of treatment combined with radical change of daily habits – a chance for cure.

Mobile applications rush to help?

Diabetologists emphasize that the implementation of good habits in the daily life of patients is the first step. The next, much more difficult, is to implement them for as long as possible. And at this stage, there is a place for mobile applications that help patients maintain the changes they have made.

Applications available “at hand”, in the cell phone, developed in cooperation with diabetes specialists can monitor patient behavior and issue dedicated recommendations, recommendations and warnings, how certain behaviors translate into health status and effectiveness of therapy. They can mobilize the patient to change diet, increase activity or stop certain unhealthy behaviors. What is extremely important, within the application the patient must have a sense of being taken care of by a specialist, who with the help of technology will control and sometimes reward him for his steps.

Recommendations given to the patient must be personalized, that is tailored to their needs and taking into account their individual predispositions: behavioral, but also genetic, otherwise the patient will quickly get bored with them. We have created such an innovative application in IMAGENE.ME together with our partner – clinical Medical University of Białystok.

Results of clinical trials

During a pilot clinical study, we provided the diabetes app to patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes and after six months we tested its effectiveness in therapy by comparing it to a control group. The results obtained during the study exceeded our expectations. We proved that the therapy was more effective in patients using our app. The improvement in measurable clinical parameters was more significant in those using the mobile app.

Extremely interestingly, we also observed interesting differences between men and women. It seems that our solutions used in the app appealed more to women – this group had better study results than the male group. This finding may confirm that women are more aware of the topic of managing their own health and are more determined to introduce and maintain good pro-health habits.

We have started working on the certification of our application, we hope that it will become available for patients as a medical device in the near future. We are convinced that such new solutions as certified medical apps will appear more and more on the market, because we cannot afford to waste the chance for better effectiveness of treatment.