Mobile application to treat gestational diabetes

 The numbers of gestational diabetes are on the rise, but many mothers-to-be feel that they do not get enough support for their care. The eMOM GDM research is one of the CleverHealth Network projects coordinated by HUS Helsinki University Hospital. As an outcome of the research, a mobile application to improve the glycaemic control for expecting mothers has been developed.  

In addition to HUS, the project includes Aalto University and University of Helsinki with Fujitsu and Elisa as company partners. Part of the financing to the project comes from Business Finland. 

  • “The project aims at creating a service concept which can be used to treat many other illnesses besides gestational diabetes,” project manager Pia Viklund says.  
  • There is a clear demand for an application like this as many patients are hoping for a more personalised and timely guidance. The impact of lifestyle choices to glucose levels can also be difficult to perceive when using the methods currently in use,” research nurse Jaana Palukka explains
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Tiina Riekkola is one of those mothers-to-be who recently got an opportunity to test the usability of the mobile application. She had just been diagnosed with gestational diabetes and had no prior experience on how nutrition, sports and sleep affect glucose levels. The biggest eye-openers for Riekkola were related to eating. ”Thanks to the research, I quickly realised how rye bread, my favourite breakfast and snack, raised my glucose levels too much and kept them elevated. After I switched to oat bread, my glucose levels became much better”, Riekkola says 

Data through several measurement devices  

The research is currently progressing to the intervention stage, where 200 gestational diabetics treatable through diet are being recruited mainly from the maternity clinics. 100 of the recruits will be randomly selected to join the active group, whilst the other 100 will be in the control group. Over the course of the research, all participants will get three First Beat wellbeing analyses and their activity levels will be monitored using the UKK activity tracker 

Those in the active group will also get a device monitoring tissue glucose and smartwatch. They will also keep a diary on their nutrition and use the eMOM GDM application. The goal is that the application would teach the research participants to change their behaviour so that the glucose levels would remain as controlled as possible.    

Next step artificial intelligence?  

The data obtained from the monitoring devices will be transferred to the data pool for the care personnel and researchers to view through their own user interface. In the future, it could develop into a tool to monitor gestational diabetes, whilst at the moment, the care takes place at the maternity clinics. Later on, artificial intelligence will be added to the application which will, for example, give real-time proposals regarding the patient’s diet.