UNC researchers have adopted elite iPad technology to decrease diabetes prevalence in a rural county in South Carolina, where nearly 15 percent of residents have the disease.

The North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute is partnering with a research institute from the Medical University of South Carolina to increase diabetes management in Bamberg County. With less access to medical care, the Bamberg Diabetes Transitional Care Study will efficiently train the research workforce in an effort to establish a cost-effective diabetes management model in the county and reduce unnecessary hospital readmissions for the disease.

“This collaborative effort is unique, rather than limiting patients to short clinic visits, we are combining community health workers and tech to address access issues in rural health within the community,” UNC principal researcher Dr. Sam Cykert explained.

Diabetes is seventh leading cause of death in South Carolina. The study will used the iPads to investigate whether bringing in community health workers to assist high-risk patients in care, follow up phone calls by nurses to patients or standard physician instructions alone will most effectively manage diabetes.