Educational computer programs aren’t just for kids. In 2008, Spectrum Health, Cerner Corporation, and Microsoft announced a collaborative effort to develop a device for patients in hospitals called the Cerner Care Console. The goal is to create a user-friendly system that can educate patients about their care by showing treatment plans and lab results, lets them communicate with their health-care team, and also gives them entertainment options including music, movies, and video games.
Another tool for adults that can be used online or downloaded to a personal computer is the AIDA “diabetes simulator.” If you’d like to know how a change in your diet, exercise, or insulin regimen would affect your blood glucose level, you could just make the change and see what happens — or you can test your plan on a virtual person at www.2aida.net. There are 40 preset “people” with varying characteristics to choose from; you can also modify a “person” or enter your own information. The Web site maintains that it is “not meant for individual patient blood glucose prediction or therapy planning,” so it’s still a good idea to talk to your health-care provider before making any changes in your diabetes treatment plan.
With so many new technologies coming into existence, diabetes care has the potential to become a distant relative of what it was even a decade ago. All signs are that technological developments will continue and probably even accelerate, given the expected increase in the number of people with diabetes. While a miracle cure is unlikely, advances in medical technology — both directly and indirectly related to diabetes — can make diabetes control easier, more convenient, and more accurate for everyone. Just think: One day, your grandchildren may ask you what a blood glucose meter was.