Local woman creates app for type 2 diabetes patients

Annette Nichols with her app for type 2 diabetes.

Local woman creates app for type 2 diabetes patients
August 31
14:06 2022

By Judie Holcomb-Pack

Sometimes adversity brings new insight into old dilemmas. Such is what happened when Annette Nichols lost her brother to complications from diabetes on Dec. 3, 2013.

Diabetes and heart disease were familiar illnesses in Annette’s family. She has lost both her parents and three of her five siblings to these diseases; no one in her family has lived past the age of 63 and her sister is now beginning dialysis.

What distressed her most about her brother’s death is that it didn’t have to happen that way. Her brother was only 57 years old, but had the body of an 81-year-old. He could not get control of his diabetes; he was stubborn, frustrated and bitter. But most of all, he didn’t understand what his doctors told him to do because he was unable to read.

This fact plagued Annette the most because she knew there were others who were also suffering with diabetes and lacked the understanding of how to manage the disease.

That nagging thought made Annette determined to figure out a way to help others so they wouldn’t face the same fate as her brother. Watching how people used their digital devices, especially smartphones, Annette saw that they responded more to videos than to documents. She also knew that some of the newer devices for diabetes patients, such as the continuous glucose monitors with sensors that attach to the arm and are read with a smartphone app, sometimes didn’t work well or fell off, necessitating putting on a new sensor before the old one had been used up. The sensors were expensive and replacing one too soon created even greater expense.

Annette, who has had diabetes for 20 years, knows the importance of eating right, watching her blood sugar counts, and adjusting her insulin to maintain her health. How could she communicate what she knew to others who may not comprehend written directions or be able to read complicated medical information?

One day as she was talking with Carol Andrews at Forsyth Tech’s Small Business Center about her dilemma, Carol asked Annette, “Have you ever thought about an app?” That’s when the idea of an app for patients with type 2 diabetes began to form in Annette’s mind.

As she researched how to design an app, Annette noticed that people who may not read well or at all were able to recognize numbers. They knew their address, their phone number, the cost of items, and other numbers that we see on a daily basis. She thought if she could design an app where the patient just had to check their blood sugar and key in the number on the app, that they may be able to better control their diabetes. If the app could retain the numbers in a record that could be shown to their doctors during every visit as a way of trending the counts, that would also be helpful to the doctor as they treated the patient.

If the count was good, the app would show a thumbs-up icon. But what if the count was too high and the patient needed to make adjustments? Annette decided that a high or low number could trigger an educational video that would show the patient what they needed to do. She then decided that more education on controlling diabetes would be helpful, so she added tips and recipes to her app design.

Working with an app designer in Greensboro for about a year, the app for people with type 2 diabetes slowly came to fruition.  After over a year of tweeking and testing, the app launched in 2016. It is available for both Apple and Android devices. Once the app is downloaded, the patient registers the app using their phone number. There is a monthly charge to use the app, and contracts are for three, six or 12 months because it takes consistent use to see the benefit of the app. To get the app, go to Payment is by cash app, credit card, or a check sent to Annette. The app can work on smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Annette’s goal now is to get information about the app out to people affected by diabetes. Annette has a radio show on an internet streaming station, on Fridays at 8 a.m. where she interviews people and shares her knowledge of living with and caring for people with diabetes.

If you have questions or would like more information about the app for type 2 diabetes, contact Annette Nichols at 336-978-7598 or email She would be happy to provide a demonstration or free test of the app.

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