It was just past midnight, and the low blood-sugar alarm on my CGM had just gone off. I went to the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of juice. The juice would likely be enough to handle the hypoglycemia. But the pantry started calling my name. I was really tempted to grab an extra snack … as I must admit, I’d done so many times before. It occurred to me, once again, that a life coach’s encouragement only a few hours earlier might have inspired me to stay in control.
What is a life Coach? Wikipedia defines life coaching as: “the process of helping people identify and achieve personal goals through developing skills and attitudes that lead to self-empowerment.” There are endless reasons why someone may benefit from a life coach. Marriage counseling is sometimes called life coaching. Life coaches also help people to quit smoking, lose weight or handle stress.
So, how about people with diabetes? Instead of a life c
oach, we could use a diabetes coach. There have been many times in my life when I could have used a diabetes coach. And fortunately for people like us, diabetes coaching is a real thing.
Endocrinologist Dr. Steve Edelman, founder and director of Taking Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD) runs an organization that has been devoted to coaching people with diabetes since 1995. His nonprofit’s Mission Statement speaks to that goal: “Our mission is to encourage people with diabetes to take a more active role in their health through education, motivation, empowerment and most importantly…. humor.”
And all of these have to do with managing behavior. At the 80thScientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, ADA President, Dr. Mary De Groot stated, “Behavioral science is the catalyst to make diabetes treatment work.”
Diabetic coaching organizations are growing in popularity around the world. By coincidence, the demand for digital health services has also grown due to Covid-19 constraints. As a result, in the past few years, remote technologies, diabetes care, and personal coaching have all unified into a significant new industry.
Rising to the top of the field is Dario Health. This company’s unique approach to helping diabetics manage their behavior is powered by technology and one-on-one personalized mentoring. Dario’s outstanding success has attracted the attention of Wall Street, and they’re listed on NASDAQ as DRIO.
Dario’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Omar Manejwala, explains how telehealth, digital health and diabetes coaching combine to address the shortage of behavioral services nationwide. “In the United States, we have only 30 psychologists and a mere 15 psychiatrists per every 100,000 people,” he says. “There is no way that is adequate. 115 million Americans are living in areas of provider shortages.”
Dr. Manejwala goes on to say, “Telehealth and digital health must combine to solve the issue of disparate availability of medical services in the United States. People who need help, aren’t getting it. And post Covid-19, the crisis will only worsen. Providers alone cannot solve this problem, not even when they use telehealth—even though it’s a critical ingredient. We need to expand access to digital therapeutics and remote solutions, as well as expanding the services of coaches and peers along with other healthcare providers.”
As for me, I’m fortunate to be able to use telehealth and digital health services. My CGM results live in the cloud. Due to COVID-19, a phlebotomist visits my home to draw blood, and my A1C results are also uploaded to the cloud. Then, my endocrinologist discusses those results with me via Zoom. That’s important.
But what about that pantry calling my name? Someday soon, I’ll have my own remote coach, so the encouragement I need for even better control will be only a few clicks away.