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J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2016 Jun 28;10(4):905-13. doi: 10.1177/1932296816633233. Print 2016 Jul.

The Potential Cost Implications of Averting Severe Hypoglycemic Events Requiring Hospitalization in High-Risk Adults With Type 1 Diabetes Using Real-Time Continuous Glucose Monitoring.

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AB Medical Communications, Oakland, CA, USA.
Dexcom, Inc, San Diego, CA, USA



Severe hypoglycemia remains a major barrier to optimal diabetes management and places a high burden on the US health care system due to the high costs of hypoglycemia-related emergency visits and hospitalizations. Patients with type 1 diabetes (T1DM) who have hypoglycemia unawareness are at a particularly high risk for severe hypoglycemia, the incidence of which may be reduced by the use of real-time continuous glucose monitoring (RT-CGM).


We performed a cost calculation using values of key parameters derived from various published sources to examine the potential cost implications of standalone RT-CGM as a tool for reducing rates of severe hypoglycemia requiring hospitalization in adult patients with T1DM who have hypoglycemia unawareness.


In a hypothetical commercial health plan with 10 million members aged 18-64 years, 9.3% (930 000) are expected to have diagnosed diabetes, with approximately 5% (46 500) having T1DM, of whom approximately 20% (9300) have hypoglycemia unawareness. RT-CGM was estimated to reduce the cost of annual hypoglycemia-related hospitalizations in this select population by $54 369 000, yielding an estimated net cost savings of $8 799 000 to $12 519 000 and a savings of $946 to $1346 per patient.


This article presents a cost calculation based on available data from multiple sources showing that RT-CGM has the potential to reduce short-term health care costs by averting severe hypoglycemic events requiring hospitalization in a select high-risk population. Prospective, randomized studies that are adequately powered and specifically enroll patients at high risk for severe hypoglycemia are needed to confirm that RT-CGM significantly reduces the incidence of these costly events.


cost; hypoglycemia unawareness; model; real-time continuous glucose monitoring; severe hypoglycemia; type 1 diabetes

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