Intermountain Healthcare and Omada Health have launched a pilot program that uses digital tools to prevent the onset of diabetes in at-risk patients.
Intermountain and Omada Health, a digital therapeutics company, are collaborating to identify patients with prediabetes and then provide them with tools to track their weight and diet. The partnership was facilitated by the American Medical Association.
The one-year pilot—which has enrolled about 200 participants—aims to bolster participants' lifestyle management skills while providing physicians with more information about their patients' health. The pilot builds on strategies that have proven successful in CDC's in-person National Diabetes Prevention Program, but it is designed to make it easier for patients to participate by removing barriers to access.
For instance, all participants receive a wireless weight scale and access to an online personal health coach. The weight scale automatically sends data to a patient's profile on the Omada Health platform, with the initial measurement serves as a benchmark for future progress. Meanwhile, over the course of the program, patients get feedback from their personal coach in real time—the coaches are accessible any time via private online messaging, texting, phone, or video chat.
Participants also receive a food-and-activity tracker. In addition, they are matched with a group of peers who started the program on the same schedule.
Patients have a goal of 5 to 7 percent weight loss during a 16-week core part of the program. After that, they participate in a maintenance phase to help make long-term lifestyle changes. At that point, the participants continue to receive one-on-one coaching, but they join a larger peer-support group to help them discuss and overcome obstacles to their health goals.
According to Omada's early research into the program, participants who have reached the 16-week mark have averaged about 5 percent weight loss.
Timothy Graham, an endocrinologist at Intermountain, said, "I think it's very easy for patients to participate in the Omada program." He added, "The traditional [diabetes prevention program] design, while very effective, has still required regular in-person meetings, which are barriers to many patients in their busy lives. The Omada program really helps overcome these types of barriers" (Sweeney, FierceHealthcare, 2/6; Smith, AMA Wire, 1/31).
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