Investigator-Initiated Research

BCDiabetes is committed to continuous improvement of the ways in which we support people with diabetes. Many techniques and approaches have been developed to manage diabetes, such as control of blood sugar using a combination of lifestyle changes and pharmacological interventions. Similarly, most of the physical complications associated with diabetes, including high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and kidney failure, have also been addressed. BCDiabetes and many other organizations continue to conduct highly productive clinical trials on new treatments to improve the management of these aspects of the condition.

Case Managers at BC Diabetes Improve Patient Care

While medical management of these overtly physical issues is of paramount importance, it is also valuable to address other issues affecting patient outcomes, such as diabetes related distress and depression, and ongoing compliance with and adherence to treatment plans. It has been shown, for example, that diabetes related distress and depression may be associated with elevated blood sugar levels. Although the existence of these effects is known by the medical community, they are sometimes overlooked and go untreated.

To ensure comprehensive patient care that addresses all factors that may affect how well patients respond to treatment, BCDiabetes conducts our own Investigator-Initiated Research program, which is supported by donations and grants. The goal of this work is to identify novel treatments to improve patients’ compliance with their treatment plans, help them maintain stable blood-sugar levels, manage complications (e.g., cardiovascular disease) associated with diabetes, and cope with diabetes-related distress and depression. While some of the proposed interventions we test are unconventional, all are subjected to rigorous testing to validate or reject them on the basis of sound scientific evidence.

Below are two examples of the investigator-initiated studies that are currently under development at BCDiabetes:

myBCD: In this study we will test a specialized software application “myBCD” that was designed and developed by BCDiabetes. The app is intended to improve patients’ compliance and adherence to their treatment plans, record blood sugar measurements and lab results, and facilitate rapid communication between patients and their Case Manager and Physician. It facilitates ordering diagnostic tests, changes in medications and renewal of prescriptions. In the near future we plan to conduct a pilot test to determine if use of the app results in improvement of specific responses to treatment, compared with a control patient group who will receive standard care without using the app. We hypothesize that patients using myBCD will be more likely to show improved blood sugar control and enjoy a higher quality of life than those receiving just standard care.

Mindfulness: This trial will evaluate the value of mindfulness training and practice on blood sugar control and quality of life of patients living with diabetes. We hypothesize that patients who learn and practice mindfulness will be more likely to follow treatment plans (they will have higher compliance) and are therefore more likely to meet their treatment goals. Mindfulness will be taught and guided using the Headspace smartphone application. If our results show improved compliance as reflected in improved outcomes in measures of long-term blood sugar control and quality of life measures, it will be studied further as a non-pharmacological intervention for regular use in the management of diabetes.

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