Utility and precision evidence of technology in the treatment of type 1 diabetes: a systematic review

Commun Med (Lond). 2023 Oct 5;3(1):132. doi: 10.1038/s43856-023-00358-x.


Background: The greatest change in the treatment of people living with type 1 diabetes in the last decade has been the explosion of technology assisting in all aspects of diabetes therapy, from glucose monitoring to insulin delivery and decision making. As such, the aim of our systematic review was to assess the utility of these technologies as well as identify any precision medicine-directed findings to personalize care.

Methods: Screening of 835 peer-reviewed articles was followed by systematic review of 70 of them (focusing on randomized trials and extension studies with ≥50 participants from the past 10 years).

Results: We find that novel technologies, ranging from continuous glucose monitoring systems, insulin pumps and decision support tools to the most advanced hybrid closed loop systems, improve important measures like HbA1c, time in range, and glycemic variability, while reducing hypoglycemia risk. Several studies included person-reported outcomes, allowing assessment of the burden or benefit of the technology in the lives of those with type 1 diabetes, demonstrating positive results or, at a minimum, no increase in self-care burden compared with standard care. Important limitations of the trials to date are their small size, the scarcity of pre-planned or powered analyses in sub-populations such as children, racial/ethnic minorities, people with advanced complications, and variations in baseline glycemic levels. In addition, confounders including education with device initiation, concomitant behavioral modifications, and frequent contact with the healthcare team are rarely described in enough detail to assess their impact.

Conclusions: Our review highlights the potential of technology in the treatment of people living with type 1 diabetes and provides suggestions for optimization of outcomes and areas of further study for precision medicine-directed technology use in type 1 diabetes.

Plain language summary

In the last decade, there have been significant advances in how technology is used in the treatment of people living with type 1 diabetes. These technologies primarily aim to help manage blood sugar levels. Here, we reviewed research published over the last decade to evaluate the impact of such technologies on type 1 diabetes treatment. We find that various types of novel technologies, such as devices to monitor blood sugar levels continuously or deliver insulin, improve important diabetes-related measures and can reduce the risk of having low blood sugar levels. Importantly, several studies showed a positive impact of technologies on quality of life in people living with diabetes. Our findings highlight the benefits of novel technologies in the treatment of type 1 diabetes and identify areas for further research to optimize and personalize diabetes care.