Polaris Technology Offers Education, Support for Teens with Type 1 Diabetes

WAYNE, Pa. (November 12, 2014)– Adolescents with Type 1 diabetes face unique challenges that can impact the management of their disease, as well as their emotional well-being.

Last week at the Diabetes Technology Meeting, in Bethesda, Md., Dr. Tina Harralson, senior research scientist at Polaris Health Directions, introduced a new Web and mobile application that can help address these challenges and deliver the resources and guidance teenagers with diabetes need to better handle their disease.

The HIPAA-compliant Technology-enabled Type 1 Diabetes Education and Support system, or T1DES, is a Web-based interface between patients and providers to identify and address psychosocial issues and other barriers to diabetes self-management.

It combines a self-report assessment with text messaging, email, e-learning tools and real-time reporting for multidisciplinary care teams and their patients.

At the conference, Dr. Harralson presented on the promising results of a pilot study on the effectiveness and utility of the system. “Patients, caregivers and providers in the study found the system easy to use and were pleased with the support it offered,” said Dr Harralson. “For teens struggling to cope with this complex disease, T1DES hones in on the unique needs of each patient.”

The pilot included 40 patients with Type 1 diabetes 13 to 18 years of age and 40 caregivers.

Using an iPad, Patients completed an online assessment that measured dietary and exercise habits, blood glucose monitoring, knowledge of the disease, depression, diabetes-specific distress and patient identified goals related to managing their diabetes, among other scales.

A summary of the assessment results were available, in real time, for the provider to use in discussions with the patient. Patients also received a report highlighting progress towards their selected goals, as well as gaps in the patient’s knowledge in managing their disease. Tailored educational materials were provided to address barriers.

Between appointments, patients received motivational text messages every day for two months to support their goals. Caregivers received weekly emails that offered guidance for ways to help their children cope with their diabetes.

The most commonly reported management issues included not exercising 30 to 60 minutes a day, missing injections at least once a week and not eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Reported barriers to these issues were not liking to exercise, forgetting their injections, and not having healthful foods at home, respectively.

The next generations of T1DES will include integration with electronic health records systems and a mobile application for diabetes management.

T1DES was developed by Polaris Health Directions, the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The National Institutes of Health funded the project.

For more information on T1DES, please send an email to moreinfo@polarishealth.com or visit http://tridiuum.com. You can view the poster here.


The project described was funded by NIH-NIDDK STTR R41 DK097932-01 from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases or the National Institutes of Health.