The studies of this “particularly vulnerable” group would show what influence artificial intelligence-based therapies have on “the quality of life and development of small children” despite their diabetes, explained Hofer.
A pilot study was previously carried out in which 20 small children took part. The study was completed in 2019, and the recruitment of participants for the main study would have started immediately afterwards. At that time it was shown that the system “can be used very safely – both at night and during the day”. It is “unbelievably impressive” how “calm and stable the nightly glucose levels are”, emphasized Hofer, “it is no longer the doctor, but the algorithm that determines the precise dosage of insulin supply. Artificial intelligence is simply ahead of us in some ways ”.
“But the person is still the boss,” added the doctor, adding that one does not give up all control. In this case, however, technology could help with fine-tuning, and corrective measures by parents would “largely be omitted”. The parents reported enormous relief after the pilot phase. The quality of sleep has improved enormously. “A mother told us that suddenly there were moments when she was allowed to forget that her child had diabetes,” said Hofer, saying that it was a “moving moment”.
90 percent of the parents involved in the pilot study would recommend the “closed loop” system, three quarters of all participants from Innsbruck would like to continue using the system over the long term. It has already been shown that the system is suitable for everyday use; the data will be statistically processed from March onwards. “I am sure the data will convince”, said Hofer, now it is a matter of showing “measurable improvements”.
The closed-loop system is not yet commercially available, but it is already CE-certified. Hofer hoped that it would “make the leap into everyday treatment” within the next one to three years. It is important that there is a “rethinking of the health and insurance companies”, stated the doctor. “ The se costs must be refunded”.
Medical apps will play an increasingly important role in the future.