M♡THer – Support for Women with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

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M♡THer is a novel interactive system designed to support women throughout diagnosis of gestational diabetes to the birth of their baby. It also improves multidisciplinary care co-ordination by providing shared access to the women’s clinical information. Clinicians saw an opportunity to improve service delivery to patients, and improve care provision, particularly as referrals to GDM services dramatically increase. No other technology like this could be found, at the time of development.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is an increasing problem among pregnant women worldwide. Estimates of its prevalence vary widely because of varying threshold values. The increasing number of pregnant women being diagnosed with GDM is leading to snowballing healthcare costs. The condition has adverse effects on pregnancy outcomes and implications for the long term well-being of mother and infant. The risks GDM imposes are largely related to uncontrolled high blood glucose levels and its consequences. Treatment resulting in better control of these levels can reduce risks of adverse pregnancy outcomes considerably. It is important for women with GDM to carefully monitor their blood glucose levels and daily monitoring appears to be superior to intermittent clinic monitoring. In Australia, after a confirmed diagnosis of GDM, women are required to monitor their blood glucose levels up to 4 times a day, as per current clinical guidelines. It is general practice that women are provided a paper-based blood glucose levels diary at diagnosis. These paper-based results are brought to regular clinic check-ups, to be reviewed by a multidisciplinary team. There are several logistical problems associated with this system. To address these, an innovative information communication technology enabled solution, called M♡THer, was developed through a collaboration between Metro South Hospital and Health Service, and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.
M♡THer is a novel interactive system designed to support women throughout diagnosis of GDM to child birth. It also improves multidisciplinary care co-ordination by providing shared access to the women’s clinical information. The M♡THer platform was developed from a clinically validated home-care delivery model developed by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, to manage cardiovascular disease. The care delivery model integrated in M♡THer was designed in alignment with existing clinical work flows, making it feasible for wide pre-natal services adoption. Development was guided through very close alliance with clinicians, involved in all levels of pre-natal care, but also with iterative consultation sessions with pregnant women, with a diagnosis of GDM.
The main goal of the platform was to support not only the pregnant women diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, but also practitioners providing healthcare to them, thereby offering several benefits to the provision of GDM services.
The M♡THer solution utilises technologies which integrate a smartphone app, the Internet, measurement devices and multimedia content to support the management of women with GDM. The smartphone is carried by the woman throughout the day to allow for capture of blood glucose levels and other clinical measures such as weight, stress, sleep and symptoms. It also provides educational multimedia content, and links to educational materials regarding diet and exercise in GDM. A secure web based clinical portal enables healthcare practitioners from different specialised disciplines to assess the women’s weekly progress and to provide early care intervention dependent on the review. Data can similarly be reviewed by the healthcare practitioners during clinic appointments to aid in discussions with the women. Each woman has her own profile compiled through the clinician portal, to ensure that the app is tailored and individualised according to specific needs.
M♡THer was tested in a feasibility study with 40 participating women at Redland hospital, Metro South Hospital and Health Service, Queensland, Australia from August 2017 to April 2018. The app was well received by the women as an alternative to the paper-based blood glucose levels recordings. All respondents agreed that the app was user friendly, convenient and helpful in managing their GDM, making them feel confident in the management of their condition. Treating clinicians reported improved communication with the women in their care and experienced an increase in multi-disciplinary co-ordination amongst themselves. The platform enabled early intervention for a number of women identified with elevated blood glucose levels readings in the first week of using the app, and due to elevated fasting blood glucose levels , a number of women were timely commenced on Metformin or insulin treatment.
M♡THer has further implications. It can expand access to, and improve, the quality of healthcare for women in regional and rural areas and those reluctant to attend clinic appointments for a number of personal situations. It reduces burdens for these women in receiving access to speciality care, and can improve monitoring, timeliness, and communications within their care teams. It has been identified to be a suitable solution to continue monitoring of the women after the birth of their babies for early intervention should their blood glucose intolerance not improve. There are many solutions aimed at diabetes management but few cover GDM. Most are developed without patient input, clinical input, evidence-based practices, adherence or citation of recognised medical guidelines. The pilot trial has proven the potential for widespread adoption of this technology.

Innovation Description

Innovation Development

Innovation Reflections

Project Pitch

  1. Hello just wondering if we you had the original study of the 40 women available ? Just looking for research purposes.
    thanks

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