Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Turkcell M2M device improves health of diabetes patients

Iain Morris
October 1, 2014
Turkish mobile operator Turkcell says diabetes patients trying out its newly developed remote-monitoring device saw a 9% fall in blood sugar levels and a 16% drop in blood glucose levels as a result of using the technology.

The operator has developed a Healthmeter that communicates data on patient health to doctors in real time and stores the information electronically.

Its tests involved some 200 diabetes patients and were carried out in partnership with Istanbul University’s Faculty of Medicine.

Half of the patients were placed in a control group – where they were instructed to maintain their regular drug regimen – while the other half used the Healthmeter in addition to regular drug therapy.

Besides registering sharper falls in blood sugar and blood glucose levels than patients in the control group, those in the Healthmeter group also saw improvements in areas including body weight, body mass index and systolic blood pressure, says the operator.

Turkcell reckons the Healthmeter could be enormously beneficial in Turkey, where diabetes rates are growing exponentially.

According to Ilhan Satman, the head of endocrinology at Istanbul University and project coordinator, the number of diabetes patients in Turkey rose by 90% between 1998 and 2010.

“We have about seven million diabetes patients in Turkey – almost as much as a medium-size European country,” he said.

“In our study, the Turkcell Healthmeter group adapted better to drug treatment,” added Satman, “We can conclude that closely tracking patients through mobile health technology resulted in better blood sugar, blood pressure and lipid control without requiring additional use of drugs.”

Sureyya Ciliv, the chief executive of Turkcell, noted that Turkey currently spends about $6 billion annually on diabetes and that technology could lower costs for the country’s healthcare system.

The Turkcell device transfers data without requiring manual entry but also allows patients to share health information and alerts with family members.

Turkcell says the device also allows considerable flexibility and freedom of movement for users – with two of the patients in the trial using it with roaming during trips abroad.

The Healthmeter has been developed to support the treatment of five different metabolic conditions – blood sugar, blood pressure, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cardiac dysrhythmia – and is said to be available for sale at Turkcell’s medical call center.
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