Dr Neal Kaufman Weighs Advantages of Digital and In-Person Diabetes Management Programs

June 10, 2017

Diabetes management programs can be delivered digitally or in a traditional in-person setting, but there are benefits and drawbacks to each, explained Neal Kaufman, MD, founder and chief medical officer of Canary Health.

Diabetes management programs can be delivered digitally or in a traditional in-person setting, but there are benefits and drawbacks to each, explained Neal Kaufman, MD, founder and chief medical officer of Canary Health.

Transcript (slightly modified)

What are the advantages of digital delivery of a chronic disease management program, compared with an in-person program?

I think they’re both very important. They’re both excellent ways of bringing research-proven approaches to help people self-manage their conditions. Digital has certain advantages over in-person, and in-person has advantages over digital.

Digital is ubiquitous, 24/7, the person doesn’t need to get in their car to get to the appointment, they can access it from the privacy of their home, they can come on for 5 or 10 minutes if that’s all they have that day, or they can spend an hour or longer if need be. It identifies and helps people who don’t like to join groups. Many people are not happy with that approach; they want to be anonymous in their conversations.

In-person is in-person, and it allows you to have a more intimate relationship with individuals who come to your group. It has benefits where individuals are able to share and have that direct social support. Digital provides indirect social support, and depending on the individual, some approaches work better than others.

In-person has a challenge, in that you have to get people to show up at the same time, at the same place, an hour a week or more depending on the program, and that can have some significant logistics challenges.

So, I actually believe that the future will have combined approaches where individuals will be given the choice between a digital delivery of that program, in this case a diabetes prevention program or a chronic disease self-management program, and also in-person delivery of those same programs.