Purpose of review
As smartphones have become deeply integrated into our daily lives, diabetes apps have emerged as valuable tools for people living with diabetes (PWD's). Whether as standalone apps or companion apps to diabetes devices such as glucose meters or insulin pumps, they aim to help patients better manage their diabetes. However, with almost a half million health apps available, it is important to have a framework for understanding their benefits and disadvantages.
2020 was the first year that every insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor manufacturer in the United States offered a smartphone companion app for their flagship products. These companion apps enabled cloud-based data synchronization, which in turn proved to be extremely timely as the COVID-19 pandemic shifted many diabetes clinic appointments to the telemedicine format. The American Diabetes Association and European Association for the Study of Diabetes Diabetes Technology Working Group recently published a consensus report highlighting the current state of diabetes digital app technology.
While diabetes apps offer unique conveniences and advantages for PWD's, it is equally important to fully understand their potential pitfalls to better inform all diabetes stakeholders: patients, healthcare professionals, regulatory agencies, researchers, and policy makers.