How do adults with type 2 diabetes (specifically those who need insulin for the first time) best learn to self-manage their condition? A company called Mytonomy, which specializes in patient education, believes it can answer that question in one word, “Microlearning,” or bite-sized (from 30 seconds to 3 minutes) portions of information delivered by digital download.
“The idea is to give very short, tailored information and also have a wide range of videos for patients to choose from,” said Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center adult endocrinologist Magdalena Bogun, MD, who was part of the team of experts who helped Mytonomy develop the curriculum and videos that were used in a recently completed, six-month-long pilot study on Microlearning and type 2 diabetes (T2D). “There are multiple reasons this works for patients.”
In partnership with the pharmaceutical Sanofi and in collaboration with the Berrie Center, MedStar Diabetes Institute and Duke Health’s Diabetes Program, Mytonomy set out to work with patients in the hospital including the fastest growing populations with T2D—African Americans, South Asians and Hispanics. They were all new to insulin.
The study started with a survey asking the patients who wanted to participate about their attitudes toward their health and their insulin use. Then, the patients were tasked with watching some of the 50 microlearning videos that focused on the educational needs of people new to insulin. After a week, another survey was administered to patients that also measured patient's engagement, understanding, usability and satisfaction with the platform.
“Hopefully, they’ll feel better about their health and taking insulin,” said Dr. Bogun. “We actually have preliminary data that shows that this is actually true.” Early returns on the pilot study (now, only available to patients at Columbia, MedStar and Duke) show that people indeed improved their attitudinal scores on insulin use after viewing the array of microlearning videos on the topic.
“This is not to replace the education we are doing,” said Dr. Bogun about the Berrie Center’s own world-renowned diabetes education program, “But sometimes the patient misses information or it’s not a good time for learning, they can always go back to it at a future time. I also like that you can pick the videos you want to watch and that they are very short. If a patient wants to see how to inject insulin, they don’t have to watch something for 20 minutes.”
The microlearning videos are available in Spanish as well as English and now, Mytonomy and Sanofi are looking to widen their studies. After that? “I can see this working in an outpatient setting too,” said Dr. Bogun. “It’s a nice additional tool to teach self-care. People learn in many different ways.”