New study reveals positive impacts of Flash blood glucose monitoring on blood sugar and quality of life
While Flash was found to be slightly more expensive than finger-pricking over a lifetime, it was shown to be highly cost-effective. This is because Flash was predicted to help people with type 1 diabetes stay healthier for longer, meaning the extra costs to the NHS would be justified.
Type 1 diabetes is a serious and life-long condition. Close monitoring of blood glucose levels is an essential – but often disruptive – part of daily life for people living with it in order to avoid complications.
Flash involves a small sensor that sits just underneath the skin and continuously measures glucose in the fluid that surrounds the body’s cells. To get a reading, you can painlessly swipe a reader or smartphone over the sensor to see what blood glucose levels are doing minute by minute. The device will also alert people when their levels are going too low or too high.
Flash glucose monitoring technology was first made available through the NHS in 2017. Currently, about half of people living with type 1 diabetes are prescribed Flash on the NHS. At the end of 2021, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence consulted on new guidelines which proposed recommending Flash for all people with type 1 diabetes.
Dr Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, which funded the study, said:
“We want as many people as possible to have access to innovative diabetes technologies. This study confirms the radical improvements Flash can bring to the lives of people living with type 1 diabetes, helping them to reduce their blood glucose levels – protecting against short and long-term diabetes complications – and removing some of the relentless burden of managing the condition.
“By demonstrating the benefits to people living with type 1 diabetes and the value for money to the NHS – which currently spends 10% of its budget on diabetes care – we hope these results encourage healthcare professionals and people with type 1 diabetes to consider flash glucose monitoring as a cost-effective and life-improving intervention.”
Dr Lalantha Leelarathna, Diabetes UK-funded researcher at University of Manchester, said:
“Ability to monitor glucose without painful finger-sticks is life-changing for many people living with type 1 diabetes. With the use of second-generation Flash technology, we found significant improvements in average glucose levels and a reduction in both high and low glucose levels, helping people to spend more time with normal glucose levels thereby reducing their risk of long-term diabetes related complications. This intervention was highly cost-effective and led to high level of treatment satisfaction. We call for universal funding of this life changing technology for all people living with type 1 diabetes.”