BOSTON – An online game may help people with Type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar better, according to the results of a recent study published in the Diabetes Care journal.
“Patients with diabetes who were randomized to an online game delivering diabetes self-management education demonstrated sustained and meaningful hemoglobin A1c improvements,” the report’s authors wrote.
The study, conducted by a team of Boston researchers, studied whether an online team-based game delivering diabetes self-management education to patients via email or mobile app can generate longer-term improvements in HbA1c.
Patients were randomly assigned a DSME game with a civics booklet or a civics game with a DSME booklet. The six-month games sent two questions twice weekly to participants, who accrued points based on performance, with scores posted on leaderboards.
The study found that DSME game patients had significantly greater reductions in HbA1c over 12 months over the civics game patients. In fact, the DSME game reduced HbA1c by a magnitude comparable to starting a new diabetes medication, the authors wrote.
“Online games may be a scalable approach to improve outcomes among geographically dispersed patients with diabetes and other chronic diseases,” they wrote.