Monitoring Your Child's Type 1 Diabetes Long Distance with Web Tools

Beth McNamara Health Guide
  • Parents of a Type 1 child monitor their kid's every move, morsel taken, unit of insulin administered ... when they are at home. Yet what about when the child is at school, camp or elsewhere?

    In comes MyCareConnect a web-based application that allows parents to connect with their children and school staff during the day to check key monitoring points like blood glucose readings, insulin doses, carb counts and ketones.  Parents can be alerted to readings during the day by email or phone alerts. Parents in turn can send text messages to their child's phone, either on a one-time basis or recurring, reminding him to test, or to have a snack, or to bring home a test kit that was left in a locker.

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    Profiles for each user are comprehensive and in addition to instantaneous communication, allow for in-depth, online record keeping that help to lessen the never-ending hassle of maintaining a log. These online logs account for fast and slow acting insulin as well as exercise and its intensity. Trending can then be done from these logs. Complementing the data in the health logs is the option to record and track health goals, like exercising five times a week. 

    The application currently is free to users - all someone needs to do is to sign up, and she is ready to use the tool. The site offers tutorials to help with the learning curve.

    With the slashing of education funding occurring across the nation - which is evident by the the shortage of public school nurses -- MyCareConnect can serve as a much needed conduit between school staff, the child and the parent that provides real time data during school hours. The application offers an interface for school staff so that they can pull up all of the records for each Type 1 student at the school. This streamlines communication and record keeping for school health staff, saving valuable time.

    MyCareConnect is one hundred percent patient-based, which means that the user (i.e. the child and his family) wholly controls who - like school health staff, CDEs, or doctors --  sees what parts of the record and who enters what data. By putting the health information in control of the patient, this makes the tool HIPAA compliant.

    Beyond serving as a solution for parents and school health staff, MyCareConnect also supports hospitals and doctors offices, specifically by allowing the offices to easily access the record logs of their Type 1 patients online. The company has worked with Dallas Children's Hospital to help streamline the record logs they receive for Type 1. Before they began using MyCareConnect, Dallas Children's Hospital was receiving between 40 and 60 logs per day and had dedicated up to 2 CDEs to review this logs, which was lost, non-reimbursable time for the Hospital. MyCareConnect has an interface specifically for this, and will triage all logs that it has for each participating medical office.

    I was able to talk to Pam Henry, founder and owner of MyCareConnect, via phone. Pam walked me through a demo of the application, and gave me a little history about the idea.

  • Pam's daughter Sarah, now eleven years-old, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was in kindergarten. During the summer following her daughter's diagnosis, Pam set up a way to communicate with her school nurse online, with no intentions of becoming the founder and developer of a health management application. But after seeing her initial application, someone recommended that she consider making a tool to be used for all Type 1 kids, which brings us to the present, five years later and the current MyCareConnect.

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    According to Henry, down the road, MyCareConnect is looking to be used for children with other chronic conditions that need ongoing monitoring, like epilepsy. Already, it is making moves in this direction with its recent addition of supporting Type 2 diabetes.

    MyCareConnect is self-funded. The long-term business strategy is to sign up as many users as possible on a free basis, and then monetize the efforts through advertising.

    In the very immediate future, MyCareConnect is aiming to release an application for the iphone at the Children With Diabetes Conference, starting this week. If you're in Florida for the conference, stop by their booth.

Published On: June 28, 2010