The Sugar Smart for Life program — a collaborative, technology-based diabetes prevention program by West Kendall Baptist Hospital and LifeWallet (LifeWallet.com) — has been named a “Promising Practice” by the prestigious Healthy Communities Institute, which provides a national database of more than 2,200 practices that improve community health and quality of life.
Along with the “Promising Practice” designation, the Sugar Smart for Life program is featured as a best practice on the Health Council of South Florida’s Miami Matters website, a dynamic site that provides health, environmental and other quality of life indicators for Miami-Dade County residents.
According to the website, “… this technology-based intervention is well-received by patients at high risk for developing diabetes in terms of satisfaction, delivering appropriate health education and supporting and encouraging positive health behavior changes.”
Sugar Smart for Life is the first lifestyle intervention program launched from the Healthy Hub, a free, one-stop screening and referral-to-care kiosk located at West Kendall Baptist Hospital. Powered by the product suite at LifeWallet, a healthcare technology company at the forefront of diabetes prevention, the Healthy Hub generates a visitor’s health score from biometric information gathered by a nurse.
Visitors who are at high-risk for diabetes are eligible to participate in the six-month Sugar Smart for Life program, which includes individual wellness plans that provide guidance on diet, exercise and glucose monitoring.
“Now more than ever, healthcare providers are challenged to find ways to help patients — and their entire community — get and stay healthy,” said Javier Hernandez-Lichtl, CEO at West Kendall Baptist Hospital. “This program enables our team to scale health impacts from our programs across the West Kendall community.”
Norberto Menendez, founder of LifeWallet, said, “Being named a ‘Promising Practice’ highlights the role technology like ours can play in the fight against diabetes as well as other chronic diseases. The Sugar Smart for Life program shows that technology can foster the level of patient engagement needed to combat costly, chronic diseases and have a tremendous impact on health outcomes.”
In the initial Sugar Smart for Life program, participants between the ages of 25 and 77 recorded and monitored their progress by connecting digital wearables and Bluetooth-connected devices to LifeWallet’s popular HealthBook app. The app, saod Evangelist Edwin Rivera of LifeWallet, is more than a simple data collection point; it is a motivational and engagement tool that gets people actively involved in their own healthcare and guides them through the steps necessary to accomplish their goals.
The Healthy Hub team monitored participants using Engage, LifeWallet’s remote monitoring platform. The wearable’s connectivity proved popular with program participants, with more than half using the app daily. Of those who completed the program, more than 80 percent rated the app either four or five stars and 90 percent “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that the app is likely to increase their motivation to address pre-diabetes.
Michelle Mejia, assistant vice president of Health Promotion Strategic Partnerships at West Kendall Baptist Hospital, said Sugar Smart for Life goes beyond simply educating patients about the state of their health.
“Sugar Smart for Life goes beyond simply educating patients about the state of their health,” she said. “We are empowering people to act on their health information using a combination approach of high touch and high tech. “By combining information, engagement and accountability, we are shaping a path for better health. It’s a powerful solution made possible through our partnership with LifeWallet.”
The 18 participants who completed the program walked a total of 6,313,843 steps, a daily average of 1,948 steps per person, and logged 284,960 total minutes of activity, a daily average of 88 minutes per person. The group’s average A1c dropped from 6.0 to 5.8, a 3.3 percent reduction. Using estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these improvements translate to an annual healthcare cost savings of $163,129, or $9,063 per participant.
“The drop in the group’s A1c is substantial,” Rivera said. “Getting people actively involved in their own healthcare is vital in the battle against type 2 diabetes, which costs Americans $322 billion dollars a year. Engagement combined with a great clinical partner like West Kendall Baptist Hospital are the keys to success.”