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AHS helps launch new virtual diabetes prevention program

Red Deer Advocate - 8/31/2022

Alberta Health Services is aiming to help those who may be susceptible to diabetes with a new smartphone app.

The app provides participants with one-on-one support from health coaches virtually, to help them manage risk and promote healthy lifestyles.

The year-long program is a collaboration between Alberta Blue Cross, Alberta Health Services' (AHS) Diabetes, Obesity & Nutrition Strategic Clinical Network (SCN), primary care providers, and Yes Health.

This virtual Diabetes Prevention Program is available to eligible Albertans through participating primary care providers, and is aimed at preventing type 2 diabetes among adults who have prediabetes. It will be offered free to 500 Albertans that have been identified by physicians and primary care networks.

According to an AHS release, close to 667,000 people live with prediabetes, which places individuals at a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes because of having higher than normal blood glucose levels.

Alberta had the largest increase in diabetes prevalence in Canada over the last 10 years, and the rate of type 1 and type 2 diabetes is expected to rise another 44 percent over the next decade.

"Preventing diabetes is a key health priority in Alberta where more than one quarter of the population lives with a form of the disease," says Tracy Wasylak, SCNs Chief Program Officer.

"This innovative diabetes prevention program brings together a diverse group of partners with a keen interest in improving and streamlining care across three important and inter-connected areas of health – diabetes, obesity and nutrition."

The pilot project will evaluate how successful the virtual Diabetes Prevention Program is at supporting lifestyle modification and sustainable weight loss for Albertans living with prediabetes. It will help those who want on-demand support and advice – and no more calorie- counting, strict diets, or scheduling of phone or video appointments—just practical, in-the- moment feedback on meals, workouts, groceries, or other questions.

"Healthcare consumers today expect access to digital health solutions along with their regular in-person care, and it's vital that all stakeholders deliver on those expectations with innovative programs that blend cutting-edge technology with personalized, human support," said Alexander Petrov, founder and CEO of Yes Health.

"That's why we're excited about this landmark pilot partnership. It's a great example of what can happen when the digital health sector works hand-in-glove with the payer, provider and public health communities to address and prevent one of the most debilitating and costliest chronic conditions."

Recognized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Yes Health is an all-mobile diabetes prevention platform that supports people living with prediabetes in making healthier decisions at the exact time they need it. The platform helps members address weight gain—the number one modifiable risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. Because of its easy-to-use interface, and asynchronous interactions with coaches, members have a very high engagement rate and an 87 percent completion rate.

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