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The last decade has seen billions of dollars flow into digital health companies that promise to improve outcomes for the 38 million Americans living with type 2 diabetes. Their products aren’t cheap, but in the long term, they pitch to health plans and employers that these digital tools will help cut health care costs by preventing serious complications like amputation and kidney failure.

A systematic review by the Peterson Health Technology Institute found, though, that digital tools used to manage diabetes with the help of finger-stick blood glucose readings don’t result in clinically meaningful improvements over standard care. As a result, they don’t reduce health care spending — they drive it up.


“Most of the solutions in this category do not deliver clinical benefits that justify their cost,” Caroline Pearson, executive director of the institute, told STAT. Despite finding that some populations may benefit, the report concludes that current evidence doesn’t support broader adoption for most products.

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