Socioeconomic status and diabetes technology use in youth with type 1 diabetes: a comparison of two funding models

Kate E Lomax, Craig E Taplin, Mary B Abraham, Grant J Smith, Aveni Haynes, Ella Zomer, Katrina L Ellis, Helen Clapin, Sophia Zoungas, Alicia J Jenkins, Jenny Harrington, Martin I de Bock, Timothy W Jones, Elizabeth A Davis

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2 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Technology use, including continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) and insulin pump therapy, is associated with improved outcomes in youth with type 1 diabetes (T1D). In 2017 CGM was universally funded for youth with T1D in Australia. In contrast, pump access is primarily accessed through private health insurance, self-funding or philanthropy. The study aim was to investigate the use of diabetes technology across different socioeconomic groups in Australian youth with T1D, in the setting of two contrasting funding models.

METHODS: A cross-sectional evaluation of 4957 youth with T1D aged <18 years in the national registry was performed to determine technology use. The Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage (IRSD) derived from Australian census data is an area-based measure of socioeconomic status (SES). Lower quintiles represent greater disadvantage. IRSD based on most recent postcode of residence was used as a marker of SES. A multivariable generalised linear model adjusting for age, diabetes duration, sex, remoteness classification, and location within Australia was used to determine the association between SES and device use.

RESULTS: CGM use was lower in IRSD quintile 1 in comparison to quintiles 2 to 5 (p<0.001) where uptake across the quintiles was similar. A higher percentage of pump use was observed in the least disadvantaged IRSD quintiles. Compared to the most disadvantaged quintile 1, pump use progressively increased by 16% (95% CI: 4% to 31%) in quintile 2, 19% (6% to 33%) in quintile 3, 35% (21% to 50%) in quintile 4 and 51% (36% to 67%) in the least disadvantaged quintile 5.

CONCLUSION: In this large national dataset, use of diabetes technologies was found to differ across socioeconomic groups. For nationally subsidised CGM, use was similar across socioeconomic groups with the exception of the most disadvantaged quintile, an important finding requiring further investigation into barriers to CGM use within a nationally subsidised model. User pays funding models for pump therapy result in lower use with socioeconomic disadvantage, highlighting inequities in this funding approach. For the full benefits of diabetes technology to be realised, equitable access to pump therapy needs to be a health policy priority.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1178958
Pages (from-to)1178958
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2023


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