If you haven’t recently searched “diabetes app” online or in the App Store or Google Play, you may want to hold off for a moment! The sheer number of diabetes-related apps and websites available is purely mind-boggling.
What to look for when deciding on a Diabetes app?
If you are new to diabetes, or, if you are new to looking for an app to help you improve your diabetes self-management, starting with a simple search will likely leave you feeling overwhelmed and indecisive.
What is the best way to learn more about useful Diabetes apps that can help you with your self-management skills and goals?
There are a few different options that I recommend to people.
First, think about what you really want to use the app for.
Is it to look up nutrition info, carb counts, recipes, recommended portion sizes, or tips for weight loss?
Do you want an app that syncs with different diabetes devices such as blood glucose meter(s), continuous glucose monitor (your sensor), an insulin pump, your fitness tracker device, apps that you already use to log your food intake
Or are you looking for other health components?
Identifying what you would like the app to do will help you focus your search. If you are unsure and your instinct says “everything!” ask yourself “The 5 Whys”
To use the 5 Whys technique, you start with a problem statement.
For example: My A1C is higher than I want, and my Time in Range is lower than I want.
Why? I am too busy to do all the stuff I should do to take great care of my diabetes.
Why? I don’t like measuring food and I’m not confident with carb counts when there is no nutrition label.
Why? I haven’t really learned how to estimate carbs when food doesn’t come from a package.
Why? It seems hard. I feel overwhelmed by all there is to know about food.
Why? I hate not knowing stuff about how to dose my insulin for different foods.
Next, ask your favorite Diabetes Care and Education Specialist to review your 5 Whys list with you.
In this example, the root problem isn’t that the A1C is elevated, or the Time in Range is lower than desired. The root problem is feeling uneasy about knowing how to dose insulin for different types of foods that don’t contain food labels and not feeling confident about how to solve this issue.
This root problem can be solved by a focused visit(s) with a Diabetes Care and Education Specialist and with the help of an app or two that can reduce the guesswork and stress this person feels regarding advanced carb counting and insulin adjustments for different food types.
What’s your problem statement? What do your 5 Whys tell you?
In the world of diabetes self-management, * “There’s an app for that. ™”
“There’s an app for that” is a registered trademark of Apple.
Tavia Vital BSN, BA, RN, CDCES
Director of Intensive Diabetes Management
Tavia is a Registered Nurse, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, and Certified Trainer on most makes/models of insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring systems. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Regis University in Denver, Colorado after receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from the University of Iowa.
After working as an inpatient nurse, Tavia shifted her career focus to work as an outpatient nurse and diabetes educator. She worked many years as a diabetes educator in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism clinics, a high-risk diabetes and pregnancy clinic, and in family care/primary care provider clinics before joining Integrated Diabetes Services.