Clinical Edge

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Glucose Control is Not a Game–Or Is It?

Diabetes Care; ePub 2017 Aug 8; Kerfoot, et al

An online game that delivers diabetes self-management education (DSME) resulted in continuous HbA1c improvements, according to a randomized trial involving 456 individuals.

Participants with HbA1c ≥58 mmol/mol and taking oral diabetes medications were randomly assigned to either a DSME team-based game and an accompanying civics booklet or a civics game with a DSME booklet for 6 months. The games sent 2 questions twice weekly, awarded points based on performance, and provided modest financial rewards. Investigators looked at HbA1c change over 1 year. Among the results:

  • Patients who played the DSME game saw their HbA1c reduced by −8 mmol/mol, compared with −5 mmol/mol for those in the other group.
  • HbA1c reductions were greater in patients with baseline levels >75 mmol/mol: −16 mmol/mol in DSME game players, and −9 mmol/mol in civics game players.

The authors noted that the DSME game approach may work particularly well for geographically dispersed patients.

Citation:

Kerfoot B, Gagnon D, McMahon G, Orlander J, Kurgansky K, Conlin P. A team-based online game improves blood glucose control in veterans with type 2 diabetes: A randomized, controlled trial. [Published online ahead of print August 8, 2017]. Diabetes Care. doi:10.2337/dc17-0310.