The face of diabetes management is ever-changing. Fifty years ago, there was no real way for people living with diabetes to monitor their blood glucose levels at home. Now, not only are monitors ubiquitous, but the options for people to interact with the data provided are expanding dramatically.

Mobile diabetes management apps have burst onto the scene and are rapidly changing the way people interact with their own care. “More information, more understanding, and more engagement always leads to better outcomes,” explains Barbara King Hooper, RN, MScN, CDE, CDTC, founder of KingHooper Diabetes Education. “People can take this information and use it in pursuit of their own individual health goals, which provides power.”

Empowering people with diabetes to take their care into their own hands is a process that’s been going on for a while, but it has been accelerating recently thanks to mobile apps. “The advent of home blood glucose monitors really elevated the role of diabetes educators,” says King Hooper. “People had more information and they wanted to have consultation to understand and interpret what it meant, so they could make adjustments for their betterment. We’re seeing a shift now with apps, because many have analysis embedded within them. So the feedback loop is coming through the app rather than through a person. It doesn’t eliminate the role of health care professionals, but it does really allow individuals to increase their knowledge and skills for self care.”

And it’s not just the younger and more traditionally tech-savvy people who are reaping these benefits. Older Canadians with diabetes are getting in on it too. “The idea that the older the adult the lower the engagement with apps is simply not true,” says King Hooper. “There are a lot of older patients who really enjoy using apps.”

Everyone is invested in their own health. So it’s only natural that Canadians are eager for their phones to become empowering tools of self care.