Extraordinary patient outcomes from our diabetes program

Calvin Wu, MD
November 30, 2022

Over six months ago, we launched Carbon Health’s diabetes program, a specialist-led virtual program powered by continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices. Today, we're proud to share some extraordinary outcomes from our patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes that show the impact of our integrated, measurement-based approach to diabetes care. 

Our recent findings show:

  • Two-thirds of our patients who previously weren’t meeting blood glucose targets now do, and are continuing to do so 30 weeks into our program. 
  • Just over half of patients with A1c ≥ 7.0% achieved recommended CGM targets within the very first 4 weeks of the program, and this subset of patients maintained excellent glucose control thereafter. 
  • Patients who started with an A1c above 9.0% in particular saw an average change in A1c of -4.2%, far surpassing the published benefits of other digital diabetes services.

A1c describes a person’s average blood glucose level over the past 2-3 months, and achieving levels less than 7.0% has been shown to minimize the risk for diabetes-related complications. 

We’re excited to continue to drive results for our patients as we build a personalized diabetes program.

Traditional diabetes care is broken

Diabetes can be a complex and highly personal disease - specialists like myself know and appreciate this, but patients aren’t always equipped with the necessary knowledge and resources to navigate this journey alone. Today, more than 37 million Americans are living with diabetes, of whom only about half are meeting recommended blood glucose targets [1]. Many are pricking their fingers daily to measure their blood glucose levels and are largely on their own trying to make sense of the numbers.

Unfortunately, many of these patients often receive generic advice to “eat healthier, exercise more, and lose some weight” when they visit their provider once every few months. With our program, patients can chat with a diabetes educator about why their blood glucose can be so hard to get back into range, work with a dietitian to incorporate healthy carbohydrates into their diet, or consult with an endocrinologist to personalize their treatment regimen and reduce the need for medication. We recognize that every patient’s experience is different and that there isn’t one set way of approaching their care.

Personalized care that is supportive and effective

Our program takes advantage of the latest tools in diabetes care - chief among them a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), a wearable sensor that can automatically and painlessly collect blood glucose readings throughout the day, revealing trends in real-time and patterns. Patients use our app to share helpful context on meals, physical activity, medication, mood, and sleep, so that our clinicians have a more complete picture of their day-to-day lifestyle. This combination provides a magical opportunity to empower patients to not only understand and explore how these factors shape their blood glucose, but also to harness actionable insights to improve their own health. 

It’s really nice to have someone analyze all the data and point out the details, to have the bird’s eye view of it. I’m looking at the data day-to-day now, so meal rankings were very good to review and know what meals to focus on. Ones I thought were healthy clearly weren’t helping, so now I know what to tweak.
- Alex, diabetes program patient

Our diabetes care team specializes in highlighting specific actions that actually matter – like adding a short walk after lunch or going to bed 30 minutes earlier – to ensure patients feel supported and informed in making their own best healthcare decisions. Having CGM data integrated into the Carbon Health EMR also enables our care teams to monitor patients’ progress from afar and facilitate timely interventions, even between visits. 

Whole person care that combines endocrinologist expertise with integrated primary care

Through our unique hybrid approach, we’re combining specialist-led with measurement-based care for personal and supportive diabetes management that works. Patients can see their primary care provider in-person to get a head-to-toe exam, check vital signs, and draw labs, then jump on their phone for a video visit with their endocrinologist. The connected data patients share with their care teams from logging and CGM – together with the discussions they foster – lay the groundwork for personalized goal setting and shared accountability. 

Patients can use our app to rank their meals by glucose impact to learn what meals to repeat or reconsider. When problems arise outside of a doctor’s visit, patients can simply message with their care team to troubleshoot and get suggestions within hours. The importance of mental health in this model is recognized too, and patients are connected with professional support as needed. There is growing evidence that patients experience better outcomes with a team-based approach to diabetes care2, particularly when that care is delivered in tight collaboration with the patient’s primary care provider. We're invested in innovating on this care delivery model, Connective Care which combines technology and expert care.

The future of our diabetes program

As we look forward, we’ll be rolling out our diabetes program beyond California to Massachusetts starting January 2023. At the same time, we also acknowledge that more than one in three Americans has prediabetes and more attention is needed to help prevent diabetes from developing in the first place. That’s why we’ve borrowed some of the core features of our diabetes program to upgrade our metabolic assessment, which is available now to those in California. This 10-day digital assessment combines wearing a CGM, logging meals and physical activity in the Carbon Health app, and discussing the findings with a primary care provider to highlight changes you could be making to stay ahead of prediabetes or diabetes.

Stay tuned for more details when we present our exciting results at the upcoming 16th International Conference on Advanced Technologies & Treatments for Diabetes!

If you or someone you know has diabetes and wants a more personalized, data-driven, and connected diabetes care experience, schedule a free consult to get started.

  1. 1. Fang M, Wang D, Coresh J, Selvin E. Trends in Diabetes Treatment and Control in U.S. Adults, 1999-2018. N Engl J Med. 2021 Jun 10;384(23):2219-2228. doi: 10.1056/NEJMsa2032271. PMID: 34107181; PMCID: PMC8385648.
  2. 2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7373227/
  3. 3. https://www.aafp.org/news/practice-professional-issues/20190522ruraldiabetes.html
  4. 4. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/prediabetes.html

Calvin Wu, MD

Calvin Wu, MD, is the Medical Director of diabetes care at Carbon Health and a board-certified endocrinologist, internist, and pediatrician.