Smartphone App Helps Barbara Understand and Manage Diabetes | NYC Health + Hospitals

Smartphone App Helps Barbara Understand and Manage Diabetes

Managing Type 2 diabetes was a mystery. But, a diabetes app provided personalized guidance and motivation that helped improve her health.

After serving 30 years as a public school guidance counselor, Barbara Abioye was looking forward to a relaxing retirement. Then, just a week after leaving her position, she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. At the time, she knew so little about diabetes that it seemed like a mystery.

“I was terrified,” she said. “I thought I was dying. I really thought that within a year or two, I’d be dead because I knew nothing whatsoever about diabetes.”

Abioye, a Rosedale resident, began doing extensive research and learned about the Diabetes Center for Excellence at NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens.

She began attending support group meetings and receiving care from staff at the center. One of the nurses informed her about the BlueStar Diabetes app, which was launched recently at two public hospitals: NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens and NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan in East Harlem.

For Abioye, the diabetes app is a “coach in her pocket,” providing real-time messages on glucose levels, sending medication reminders, and connecting her easily to her doctor and care team. She uses the app at least twice daily to record her glucose levels in the morning and at night.

“For me, diabetes was like a mystery. Sometimes I understood it and sometimes I really didn’t. With the diabetes app, I understand it a lot better,” she said.

When she first started using the app, Abioye’s A1C level was at 10 percent, which was high given her petite frame. Through using the app consistently, she’s decreased that number to 7 percent, with her sights soon set on 6 percent as she focuses on eating more fruits and vegetables.

“You really do have to examine everything that you’re doing, what you are eating, and the time that you are eating,” she said. “There is a lot involved in being a diabetic and controlling it and the app has helped me to manage that.”

Using the patient’s information, the BlueStar diabetes app provides personalized guidance, weekly reports, and motivational messages for better self-management. The app also includes articles, videos, healthy recipes, and a feature that allows patients to ask questions and get answers from Certified Diabetes Educators.

Across NYC Health + Hospitals, our doctors, nurses and diabetes educators take care of 60,000 New Yorkers with diabetes. Presently, there are 300 patients using the BlueStar diabetes app.

In addition to using the app and taking her medication, Abioye walks each morning and sees her primary care physician, Dr. Tsung Han Ching, every three months.

“The app gives Barbara instant feedback, and it helps her right away to know how she can control her blood pressure and diabetes or if she needs any adjustments,” Dr. Ching said. “It also offers encouragement by showing a patient that what they’re doing is helping. It gives them helpful suggestions and recommendations.”

Abioye agreed that her favorite feature on the diabetes app is the immediate feedback. Some diabetes patients have even said the messages from the app feel like a friend is supporting them and telling them they are doing great.

“I like the instant responses to my glucose levels,” she said. “Sometimes it’s extremely high and I already know it’s due to what I ate. But, it informs me. I get specific responses and the system makes me realize what I need to get in order.”

“This diabetes app has truly changed my life,” she said.

Learn more about how to manage diabetes and find a doctor to help you with treatment.

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