Designing Mobile Dietary Management Support Technologies for People with Diabetes

Diabetes patients indicated that using new Web and mobile phone technologies provided motivation for monitoring their diets and other important aspects of their conditions.

Researchers at the University of Washington (UW) and the Norwegian Centre for Telemedicine (NCT) have been developing technologies that will help diabetes patients keep track of what they eat. The goal is to develop tools that patients can use on their own and in cooperation with health care providers. In this study, a group of patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, tested new design concepts. The designs included several "smartphones" and a Web-based application. Patients used prototypes to record meals and make comparisons to dietary goals. Researchers observed, interviewed and video-recorded participants during two testing sessions. The interviews explored using the prototypes in various contexts of diabetes management.

Key Findings:

  • Participants felt that the act of recording and reviewing records of their eating habits would help to make them aware about what they eat.
  • Participants endorsed a search feature on the Web-based application as a potentially powerful tool.

This study obtained feedback from diabetes patients who tested new technologies for managing the disease. The findings justify further development of mobile technologies for diabetes care.