Glucose Control, Disease Burden, and Educational Gaps in People With Type 1 Diabetes: Exploratory Study of an Integrated Mobile Diabetes App
SourceJmir Diabetes, 3, 4, (2018), pp. e17
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectRadboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 6: Metabolic Disorders RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
BACKGROUND: Self-monitoring and self-management, crucial for optimal glucose control in type 1 diabetes, requires many disease-related decisions per day and imposes a substantial disease burden on people with diabetes. Innovative technologies that integrate relevant measurements may offer solutions that support self-management, decrease disease burden, and benefit diabetes control. OBJECTIVE: The objective of our study was to evaluate a prototype integrated mobile phone diabetes app in people with type 1 diabetes. METHODS: In this exploratory study, we developed an app that contained cloud-stored log functions for glucose, carbohydrates (including a library), insulin, planned exercise, and mood, combined with a bolus calculator and communication functions. Adults with diabetes tested the app for 6 weeks. We assessed the feasibility of app use, user experiences, perceived disease burden (through questionnaires), insulin dose and basal to bolus ratio, mean glucose level, hemoglobin A1c, and number of hypoglycemic events. RESULTS: A total of 19 participants completed the study, resulting in 5782 data entries. The most frequently used feature was logging blood glucose, insulin, and carbohydrates. Mean diabetes-related emotional problems (measured with the Problem Areas in Diabetes scale) scores decreased from 14.4 (SD 10.0) to 12.2 (SD 10.3; P=.04), and glucose control improved, with hemoglobin A1c decreasing from 7.9% (mean 62.3, SD 8 mmol/mol) to 7.6% (mean 59.8, SD 7 mmol/mol; P=.047). The incidence of hypoglycemic events did not change. Participants were generally positive about the app, rating it as "refreshing," and as providing structure by reinforcing insulin-dosing principles. The app revealed substantial knowledge gaps. Logged data enabled additional detailed analyses. CONCLUSIONS: An integrated mobile diabetes app has the potential to improve diabetes self-management and provide tailored educational support, which may decrease disease burden and benefit diabetes control.
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