Money-Saving Tips for Diabetes Apps + Programs
A diabetes management platform (like an app on your phone, for example) can be a useful tool to collect diabetes data—including blood sugar levels, insulin doses, meals, physical activity and other parts of everyday life that affects your diabetes. Collecting this data can help you and your health care team make informed decisions about your diabetes management.
If you haven’t heard of diabetes management platforms (DMPs), you might be reluctant to add another component to your diabetes routine.
After all, managing blood sugar levels throughout the day is already demanding and costly.
Actually, you might be using a DMP already and just didn’t know it. If you aren’t, you might find that using one can streamline how you track your diabetes data.
What is a diabetes management platform?
DMPs include the many desktop and smartphone apps that you’re likely familiar with—like mySugr, Glucose Buddy and OneDrop? These platforms are designed to work with certain blood glucose meters, continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) and connected insulin pens or pumps.
Though these apps are designed to support these specialty devices, there are programs that allow you to input your diabetes data in the way that works for you.
Consider the costs
You may already have access to a DMP at no additional cost—but some apps also offer premium versions that come with a monthly price.
Your connected diabetes equipment + apps
Device-specific apps, like the LibreLink apps for Abbott’s Freestyle Libre CGMs, are available at no additional cost—consider it part of the cost of your CGM or other connected equipment. However, these programs are specifically designed for their branded devices.
These apps are often user-friendly and require little manual input once set up with your connected diabetes equipment. However, they may offer less personalization, like inputting notes or logging your insulin alongside your blood sugar readings.
Paying for premium features
Many stand-alone diabetes data apps are free to use, with the option of paying for more additional functions and features.
For example, the widely used app mySugr is designed to work seamlessly with Accu-Chek’s line of Bluetooth-connected glucometers. However, anyone can use the free version of mySugr, regardless of the devices you use, to log blood sugar readings and track meals, activity and medications.
MySugar also offered a premium product at a fee, MySugr Pro. The paid version of the app has extra features like the option to create PDF reports of your data, set reminders and calculate an estimate of your A1c.
MySugr Pro also offers the ability to store photos, allowing you to track a specific food as well as its portion, estimated carbs, your insulin dosing and your blood sugar data at the time and after eating.
MySugr Pro costs $2.99 per month or $27.99 per year, which is in line with the costs of similar paid DMPs.
Tracking and more
You may find that the features of higher-priced products are worth the cost. Some programs incorporate diabetes health coaching into their app, while others bundle access to premium features with subscription services for blood glucose test strips.
If you track other health measures, you may be able to combine and consolidate your health data into one app, meaning less time inputting data and more information all in one place.
With so many diabetes data apps, you can hone in on the features that are most helpful for your diabetes that fit within your budget.
Cost-saving ways to pay for DMPs
There may be ways to reduce the cost of using a paid app or program to help you compile your diabetes management data. Consider the following options when looking for ways to save.
Check your benefits
Your employer may sponsor access to a DMP as part of their employee wellness program—sometimes called an employee assistance program.
Health insurance plans also commonly offer access to their own diabetes data app or other health data platform at no additional cost, so it’s worth exploring the benefits of your plan.
You may be able to pay for diabetes data tracking programs with flexible spending account (FSA) or health saving account (HSA) funds, helping you save money by spending pre-tax income. Contact your benefits provider to find out if this is eligible within your corporate benefits plan.
Alternately, consider looking for a clinical trial focused on app-based tools or connected diabetes equipment that you can enroll in. These studies are often focused on the impact of incorporating data tracking into diabetes management.
Trials usually run for a limited time, however, they can provide an opportunity to get training and guidance on how to use a diabetes data app and a chance to use premium features. This can help you determine the value of a DMP to your day-to-day blood sugar management.
There are so many digital tools available at little or no cost that can streamline your diabetes data all in one place.
Check out our guide on Diabetes Data Apps to read more about what products and features are available and how they can work for you.
Editor’s note: Educational content related to diabetes management platforms for type 2 diabetes is made possible with support from Lilly Diabetes, an active partner of Beyond Type 2 at the time of publication.