San Francisco-Based Medem Launches Online Diabetes Monitoring Service
San Francisco-based Medem, a for-profit internet company backed by the American Medical Association and other medical societies, yesterday launched a service that will allow people with diabetes to send their glucose readings to their doctors online, the Wall Street Journal reports. The service allows them to load blood-glucose levels stored on their meters onto a secure server; the readings are then downloaded by their doctors. Usually, people with diabetes visit their doctors every three to six months to have their blood-glucose levels checked, but online monitoring could save the patient time by eliminating the need for office appointments for routine blood tests or weigh-ins, the Journal reports. In addition, the online service will let doctors check on patients more often and allow patients to receive faster responses if a problem emerges between regularly scheduled visits. Ed Fotsch, CEO of Medem, said that the online service is not meant to replace in-person appointments but would give patients the option of skipping routine checkups. However, Robert Rizza, vice president of the American Diabetes Association, said that the new service "offers potential" but still must be carefully studied. Rizza said that an online reading could not always replace face-to-face consultations to measure blood pressure, lipids and other factors, adding, "Blood glucose is only a small part of caring for diabetes." Connecticut-based managed care company ConnectiCare is making the service available for about 150 patients in October to determine if it results in better care for diabetes patients and thus lower health care expenses. Medem is currently in discussions with other insurers about making the service available through their networks (McKay, Wall Street Journal, 9/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.