Turkey’s company Turkcell and Turkey’s oldest academic institution Istanbul University has announced the initial results of a medical diabetes study carried out with mobile health solution Turkcell Healthmeter. The study is among the first known global examples of an operator-developed mobile health product that has successfully produced significant health benefits in a scientific research carried out by a leading medical institution.
According to the results announced by project coordinator Dr. Ilhan Satman, head of Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases Division at Istanbul University’s Faculty of Medicine:
- Turkcell Healthmeter users’ average HbA1c (3-month blood sugar) levels decreased by 9%
- The average preprandial blood glucose level decreased by 16%
- The adaptability of patients to drug treatment increased by 25%
Decrease in 3-month blood sugar exceeds drug benefit threshold
The study was carried out with 200 diabetes patients who were divided into 2 groups. 100 patients in the control group maintained their regular drug regimen while the other 100 used Turkcell Healthmeter – a mobile health solution which communicates the patient’s health data to the doctor in real time and stores it electronically in a database – in addition to their regular drug therapy.
HbA1c (3-month blood sugar) levels of Healthmeter patients decreased by 0.96% in real value while the average decrease of HbA1c in the control group was registered as 0.67%1. A 0.3% change in HbA1c in comparison to an existing drug is a precondition for FDA and EMEA approval of a diabetes medicine. Istanbul University’s current research results demonstrate that Healthmeter meets this threshold without requiring additional drug use.
In addition to HbA1c, Healthmeter users attained significantly better results in comparison to the control group in preprandial blood glucose, body weight, body mass index (BMI), LDL (low-density lipoprotein, or “bad cholesterol”), and systolic blood pressure.
Benefits to the healthcare system in a country where diabetes rates are growing exponentially
Dr. Ilhan Satman, coordinator of the project, emphasised that that the number of diabetes patients in Turkey grew by 90% between 1998 and 2010. “We have about 7 million diabetes patients in Turkey – almost as much as a medium-size European country. Being able to follow our patients closely and in a way that minimises human error greatly improves our ability to make a difference. In our study, Turkcell Healthmeter group adapted better to drug treatment” remarked Satman, “We can conclude that closely tracking patients through mobile health technology resulted in better blood sugar, blood pressure and lipid control without requiring additional use of drugs.”
Speaking at the press conference where the results of Istanbul University’s research were announced, Turkcell’s CEO Sureyya Ciliv underlined Turkcell’s commitment to mobile health. “Turkcell Healthmeter facilitates the lives of the patients and the families in addition to providing benefits to doctors and the healthcare system as a whole. Turkey is a country where the problem of diabetes grows faster than the rest of the world. We spend 13 billion Turkish liras (roughly 6 billion USD) per year on diabetes. With this product, doctors are able to attain greater accuracy in their treatment of patients while the healthcare system benefits from a more efficient use of resources” said Ciliv.
Turkcell Healthmeter: a mobile health benefit for the patient, the doctor and the family
Turkcell Healthmeter is an M2M-technology-based mobile health device that transfers the patient’s health data to his/her doctor in a way that minimizes human error. The patient measures metabolic data with a compatible Bluetooth device which communicates with the Healthmeter. The result is then transferred to a database without requiring manual entry. If there are irregularities, the doctor is alerted via SMS, facilitating medical intervention if necessary.
If the patient chooses to do so, the system can also share health information and alerts with family members and Turkcell Global Bilgi’s 24/7 medical call center established specifically for this product. With its mobile communication technology and small size, Turkcell Healthmeter allows greater flexibility and freedom of movement to the users and their families. Two of the patients in the trial have used the device with roaming in their trips abroad, and were able to send their health data to their doctors.
Designed by Turkcell’s engineers and produced in Turkey, Turkcell’s mobile health device Healthmeter comes with an embedded Turkcell M2M SIM card and does not require additional use of a smartphone. Turkcell Healthmeter can be used in supporting the treatment of 5 different metabolic conditions – blood sugar, blood pressure, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cardiac dysrhythmia – with compatible medical measurement devices.
Turkcell Healthmeter device and service are available for sale at Turkcell’s medical call center.