Older African Americans are particularly at risk for diabetes but have a history of getting shabby care. Now that could change with the use of community-based treatment strategies, greater data-sharing and access to innovative health information technologies, according to a report published in Population Health Management and reported by MedIndia.com.

The report found that if current trends go unchallenged, the number of older U.S. adults with diabetes will more than double to 71 million in the next 20 years. What’s more, older African Americans will be especially vulnerable. Why? Because the diabetes prevalence rate for older African-American women is higher than that for Latino or white women, and the diabetes rate for black men, 65 and older, is almost double that for white men in the same age group, according to the Office of Minority Health at the Department of Health and Human Services.

But that’s not the worst of it. The report showed that older African Americans receive less quality diabetes care and are more than three times as likely to be hospitalized because of long-term diabetes complications. (More hospitalizations mean worse health outcomes—not to mention that they come with a hefty price tag attached.)

Still, it’s not all bad news. Researchers noted the promise of several relatively new diabetes-related technologies, such as geomapping. Geomapping allows scientists to determine neighborhoods where diabetes deaths are likely to occur. Experts plan to use geomapping to target high-prevalence diabetes areas where patients are getting inadequate care. The pay-off? Doctors can intervene before—not after—diabetes symptoms intensify to levels that require patients be hospitalized.

Researchers also pointed to a developing technology called telehealth diabetes case management systems. Telehealth would allow face-to-face consultations between patients and a physician or practitioner at a distant site. (Studies showed telehealth improved patients’ diabetes education while lowering overall costs.)

Although these new strategies show much promise, medical experts suggested they be used alongside better versions of community-based diabetes care programs currently in use. One such strategy includes putting trained community health workers in at-home settings where they can perform diabetes interventions, prevention work and serve as intermediaries between patients, physician and diabetes educators.

This, the medical experts suggested, is the best way to improve diabetes care in currently underserved communities of color.

To learn why calorie reduction is key for diabetics’ weight loss, click here.

To read the Population Health Management report, click here.