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Evidence to Improve Care

Continuous Glucose Monitoring for Patients With Diabetes


Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee Recommendation

Continuous glucose monitoring combined with self-monitoring of blood glucose is not recommended for the management of insulin-dependent diabetes.

Read the full OHTAC Recommendation Report



Diabetes is a chronic condition that interferes with the body’s ability to produce insulin, a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose (sugar) available to the body from food. People with insulin-dependent diabetes need to take insulin therapy, by injections or a pump, to replace the insulin their bodies are not producing. They must monitor their blood sugar carefully, usually many times a day. Typically, they use a device that pricks the skin, draws a drop of blood and measures the amount of sugar in it.


Health Quality Ontario Reviews Continuous Glucose Monitoring for Patients With Diabetes

Continuous glucose monitoring is a newer way to monitor blood sugar levels. It uses a device that attaches to the body. The device inserts a fine needle just under the skin, checks the blood glucose level every few seconds and provides a reading every few minutes. It is considered to be an additional tool some people can use to help monitor their blood sugar, but not a replacement for the conventional method.


Continuous Glucose Monitoring for Patients With Diabetes: An Evidence-Based Analysis (PDF)
July 2011


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The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has accepted this recommendation.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided the following response: To support self-monitoring of blood glucose, the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Program provides coverage for blood glucose test strips based on a patient’s treatment method, which aligns with guidelines published by the Canadian Diabetes Association. In August 2013, the ODB Program set limits to the number of blood glucose test strips it will reimburse people with diabetes depending on their treatment category. This was based on published clinical studies showing that blood glucose testing, in practice, has limited clinical benefit for many patients who are not on insulin. The changes were aligned with the Canadian Diabetes Association’s (CDA) commentary for encouraging proper testing practices for optimal patient outcomes. In November 2016 the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN) published a report that these changes resulted in $24M savings in 2013/14 with no negative impact on patients.




Health Technology Assessment at Health Quality Ontario

As part of our core function to promote health care supported by the best available evidence, we use established scientific methods to analyze the evidence for a wide range of health interventions, including diagnostic tests, medical devices, interventional and surgical procedures, health care programs and models of care. These analyses are informed by input from a range of individuals, including patients and clinical experts. The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC) — a committee of the Health Quality Ontario board of directors — reviews the evidence and makes recommendations about whether health care interventions should be publicly funded or not. Draft recommendations are posted on the Health Quality Ontario website for feedback. Final recommendations are approved by our board of directors and then shared with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. For more detailed information, visit our Evidence to Improve Care pages.


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