Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic disorders in which the body either does not produce enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or does not properly use the insulin it produces (type 2 diabetes). Insulin is a hormone that helps the body’s cells use glucose (a type of sugar) for energy. People with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes who take insulin by injection or insulin pump must test their blood glucose levels, as both high and low glucose levels can cause serious health problems.
Flash glucose monitoring (Flash) is an alternative to the finger-prick method of testing blood glucose levels. The technology consists of a sensor inserted under the skin of a person’s upper arm and a separate touch screen reader device. When scanned with the reader, the sensor transmits the person’s current glucose level and an eight-hour glucose trend graph to the reader device. Unlike devices used to continuously monitor glucose levels, Flash devices are factory-calibrated, record glucose levels every 15 minutes, and provide glucose readings only when scanned.
CADTH, in collaboration with Ontario Health (Quality), conducted a health technology assessment on the use of Flash. With contributions from CADTH, Ontario Health’s Quality business unit, formerly Health Quality Ontario, developed a systematic review of the clinical and economic evidence; performed a budget impact analysis; and conducted direct patient, family, and caregiver engagement to assess the preferences and values of people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, including their experiences with different treatment options.
The final recommendations and report are available online here.