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For all the time and money health tech companies have poured into developing virtual care for type 2 diabetes, the field doesn’t have much of a track record just yet.

There’s relatively little rigorous data on how well virtual lifestyle coaching combined with medical care can make a dent in type 2 diabetes rates or outcomes, or how easy it is for patients to stick to the plans over time. But virtual care companies are working to fill that evidence void. On Sunday, Virta Health presented outcomes from a five-year study — one of the longest yet on digital diabetes care. People who stuck with the program, which aims to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes with a virtual nutrition program supported by health coaches and clinicians, on average saw meaningful weight loss while reducing blood sugar and diabetes medications, with 20% achieving diabetes remission.


The 169 patients in the study, which was presented at the American Diabetes Association meeting and has yet to be peer-reviewed, chose to enroll in the Virta program, which emphasizes carbohydrate restriction, when it was offered through their Indiana practice. Among the 72% who used Virta for five years, weight dropped by an average of 7.6%, and A1C levels — a measure of blood glucose — dropped from 7.5% to 7.2%. It’s a small change, but potentially more notable because users also saw medication use, excluding metformin, drop by 60%. 

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