IDF Europe’s position on mobile applications in diabetes

Published:September 07, 2017DOI:


      Over the last decade, advances in technology and connectivity have led to the boom of Internet-based and mobile applications (Apps) which have rendered access to information easier and faster and have changed our daily lives. With 60 million people living with diabetes (PWD) in Europe and 32 million more at risk, diabetes has been a major target for software companies, with the aim to help people manage their chronic condition, and to prevent diabetes in people at risk.
      IDF Europe is the voice of 70 national associations, representing PWD and health professionals in 47 European countries, and a strong supporter of innovation in healthcare. Witnessing the emergence of Apps in the field of diabetes, given the general uptake of a connected lifestyle, and recognising the potential in the ability of these Apps to make an impact on the lives of PWD, IDF Europe reflected on Mobile Applications in Diabetes, examining Diabetes and new technology through psychology, motivation and behavioral change in diabetes management; the healthcare professional perspective; potential roles of diabetes-related Apps, pointing to existing evidence and important ethical issues; and finally offering recommendations on four levels: individual, healthcare professional, political and App developers.


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      App refers to Mobile Applications, which are software applications designed for running on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. Users of any mobile device can search for an appropriate App on platforms like Google Play store or Apple App Store. These Apps can be downloaded sometimes for free, or at a cost. Data entered by user might allow further synchronisation with multiple devices, such as between a smartphone and a tablet computer, allowing users’ instant access to one’s data, e.g. physical activity or food intake records.
      Big data
      Big data can be understood as a new way of data collection where a large amount of information, such as demographics, preferences, habits and other information of a large population is routinely collected. Subsequently these data are used for analysis to find out patterns or characteristics of the population.
      Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM)
      CGM refers to the practice of assessing an individual’s glucose level on a continuous basis (every few minutes). This is done through a glucose sensor, which can be inserted under the skin to measure glucose in the fluid in and around your body’s cells. This technique allows glucose level to be measured without finger pricking.
      eHealth is the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for health.
      The ability of computer systems or software to exchange and make use of information.
      Mobile Health or “mHealth” is defined as “mobile, computing, medical sensor and communication technologies” used for health improvements, including chronic disease management and wellness. mHealth includes medical applications that run on a cell phone, sensors that track important symptoms and health activities, and cloud-based computing systems for collecting health data.
      Push notification
      A message that pops up on a mobile device. App publishers can send them at any time; users don't have to be in the App or using their devices to receive them.
      a cell phone that includes additional software functions such as e-mail or an Internet browser.
      Social media
      Forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos).
      Telemedicine refers to the provision of medical care remotely with the use of telecommunications or information technology.