Avera Medical Minute AQofP: Managing gestational diabetes with new app improving patient compliance

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Gestational diabetes affects seven to 8% of pregnant women. Any pregnancy complication is concerning, however gestational diabetes is getting easier to manage thanks to an app.

When Tina Rank Dikoff was 12 weeks pregnant with baby Ireland, she learned she had gestational diabetes. The news came as a huge shock.

“How can this happen to me? I’ve been exercising. I’d been eating right. I couldn’t imagine that it could be me,” said Rank Dikoff.

“Gestational diabetes is when a person’s blood sugars are elevated in pregnancy,” said OG/BYN Dr. Michael Krause with Dakota Women’s Clinic.

Dr. Krause eased her worries.

“He told me to relax – that I was healthy and that all I had to do was follow the guidelines that they were going to help me with and that he had a team of people to help me take care of it,” said Rank Dikoff.

“I reassure them that they’re going to learn a lot of good things about how to manage it in pregnancy with the grant program that we’re doing. We keep very close tabs on them,” said Dr. Krause.

Patients must check their blood sugars on a glucometer. Their readings are then uploaded onto an app on their smart phone of tablet.

“I could see them all in a grid on my phone. I could see if everything was in line. I could see if something was out of line, if it was out of line every day. It was very handy to be able to see it all in one swipe,” said Rank Dikoff.

Diet and exercise are what help patients manage their gestational diabetes. And in real time, an entire team, including their OB/GYN, dietician and the perinatal nurse in Sioux Falls, can see the patient’s latest readings and contact the patient if need be.

Dr. Krause says the app is increasing patient compliance because of the accountability factor.

“Typically we would see the patient once a week, or maybe every other week. And they’re being seen every day basically with the blood sugars, and Facetime with the perinatal nurse once a week and sometimes more -- again if she feels that they’re not being as compliant as they should and they need to adjust their diet,” said Dr. Krause.

Rank Dikoff says the app gave her comfort in knowing a team of medical professional were monitoring her gestational diabetes at all times.

“I did have some off mornings, a lot of off mornings, that made me nervous and they would give me a call if they saw it or I would call them,” said Rank Dikoff.

“We look at it every day and say okay, they had a high here, what was going on,” said Mollie Loes, registered dietician at Avera Queen of Peace.

Loes says the app greatly benefits patients in rural South Dakota.

“That way we’re able to communicate with them without having to drive to us and they can see us face to face instead of just watching a video or talking to us on the phone,” said Loes.

Baby Ireland was born healthy and without any complications.

“It was a perfect experience. I enjoyed being able to talk with everyone, and the fact that everyone was there for me and got back to me whenever I needed a little help,” said Rank Dikoff.

If gestational diabetes goes untreated, a baby is at risk of high birth weight which can cause complications and pre-term birth.

For more information, just call 877-AT-AVERA.