New virtual diabetes clinic may help manage condition of people with Type 2 diabetes

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia is taking an innovative approach to helping its consumers who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes manage their condition to improve their health through a new virtual diabetes clinic with a smartphone app and monitoring tools.

Participants in Onduo's virtual diabetes clinic will learn more about their body's response to meals, medication and exercise by tracking their glucose readings in almost real time and seeing patterns that could explain the spikes and dips in their reading numbers. Consumers also will have ongoing access to a care team — including coaches, diabetes educators and doctors — for support in managing their diabetes.

"Our overall goal as an Anthem health plan is to take innovative approaches that will help improve the health of our consumers and transform the way that healthcare is provided in the future," said Jeff Fusile, president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, an affiliate of Anthem, Inc. "We believe introducing new solutions like this — using technology to make it easier for consumers to manage their condition — is critical to achieving that goal and helping people live their healthiest lives."

BCBSGa is offering the clinic at no additional cost to consumers with Type 2 diabetes who participate in individual and most employer-sponsored plans in the state. Consumers of Anthem Federal Employee Program plans who reside in Georgia can also participate. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia has more than 75,000 consumers with Type 2 diabetes.

"We believe in providing the most up-to-date care for those living with Type 2 diabetes," added Dr. Josh Riff, CEO of Onduo. "For those with the condition, we want to help them and their doctors stay on top of their diabetes so they can focus on the important things in their life. It's why we've built a virtual environment with all the right tools and care team members to help them be aware of and manage all those little moments of living with diabetes. We can extend the care and support they need before, after and in-between doctor visits."

Consumers who participate will receive a connected blood glucose monitor, at-home A1c kit and test strips. Those who qualify can also receive a continuous glucose monitor, a small device worn on their body that reads glucose frequently and gives a more inclusive picture of what their sugar levels do throughout the entire day as it relates to the choices they make around food, activities and medications.

"If a consumer has a spike in glucose levels, after lunch for example, a care lead can message with that person at any time," said Dr. Ann Edmundson, medical director for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia. "The app will send text reminders to take photos of lunch, and then automatically translates the content of the meal into log entries. These entries are combined with information gathered from the consumer's connected glucose meter allowing the consumer and care lead to discuss correlations via chat."

To qualify for the virtual diabetes clinic, consumers must have a smartphone, be at least 18 years of age, have a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes and be part of a participating Blue Cross and Blue Shield employer-sponsored plan.

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