Published on 16 May 2023

Study shows real-time continuous glucose devices also provide a cost-effective alternative to manual testing.

The benefits of real-time continuous glucose monitoring (rtCGM) for people living with type 2 diabetes have been presented in a new report.

Researchers found that compared to finger prick testing, use of rtCGM results in significant improvements in baseline glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) levels, in addition to reductions in long-term diabetes-related complications and emergency department visits.

The study, involving a long-term health economic analysis, was determined using the IQVIA CORE Diabetes Model – which allows the calculation of long-term outcomes, based on the best data currently available – to establish the cost-effectiveness for funding rtCGM technology versus testing with finger pricks.

The report by Dexcom was recently published in Diabetes Therapy and provided evidence to back up use of rtCGM devices for people with type 2 diabetes following previous research that suggested their technology was cost-effective for people with type 1 diabetes in 2020 in the UK.

Key findings of the report showed use of rtCGM being cost-effective (70.8%) to the NHS compared to finger-pricking to test via a blood glucose meter, based on annual cost of £20,000 per year.

The results showed a 38.7% probability of rtCGM being cost-saving to the NHS as it could help decrease the risk of developing diabetes-related complications.

While using rtCGM was associated with 0.731 more quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), meaning the intervention could lengthen and/or improve patients’ lives.

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Based on the mean difference between groups taking part in the study after 12 months of follow-up tests, and the average HbA1c in the study being 8.27%, HbA1c was reduced by 0.56% in the group of rtCGM users.

The researchers monitored for severe hypoglycaemia – where sugar levels drop too low and third-party intervention is required - and hyperglycaemia – where sugar levels rise too high – or hospitalisation events, and the mean adjusted difference after 12 months follow-up was 0 events for people using rtCGM and 4 hypoglycaemia and 2.5 hyperglycaemia events for people using finger-pricking per 100 patient years.

Ben Byrne, Country Director of Dexcom in the UK and Ireland, said: “As healthcare technology – such as Dexcom’s rtCGM Systems – continue to evolve, policymakers have a tremendous opportunity to re-evaluate the standard of care offered to the diabetes community. Dexcom rtCGM has enormous value, not only in how it can improve quality of life for people managing diabetes, but also because it is likely to save the NHS money.”

The annual cost of diabetes to the NHS in 2022 was estimated at £10 billion – around 10% of its budget.

Mr Byrne added: “Our recent analysis clearly adds to the evidence that rtCGM is not only a highly cost-effective intervention for people with diabetes compared to finger pricking but is also likely to be cost saving. Given these findings, and with diabetes being so costly to healthcare providers in the UK, we need to take action and mandate more effective glucose monitoring consistently across the NHS and in the UK.”  

Read the report in Diabetes Therapy

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