Designing Mobile Support for Glycemic Control in Patients with Diabetes

HealthReachMobile user evaluations support the development of mobile diabetes management technology.

HealthReachMobile is a suite of mobile phone applications that helps diabetes patients monitor their disease. Patients use Bluetooth devices to upload data from a glucose meter to their mobile phones. The phones display recommendations from clinicians who have analyzed the data.

This paper which is part of a special issue of the Journal of Biomedical Informatics describes evaluations of three HealthReachMobile features: 1) wireless glucose meter uploads using a Bluetooth interface; 2) tailored automated messages; and 3) feedback displays for mobile phones.

The evaluation had two phases. In the first phase, participants uploaded data from OneTouch glucose meters to their mobile phones. The six participants, ranging in age from 18 to 65, had either Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes. In the second phase, participants identified areas of confusion and suggested modifications to mobile phone displays; there were eight participants. During each phase, researchers conducted interviews and observed participants using the prototypes.

Key Findings:

  • All six participants in phase one reported that HealthReachMobile’s wireless upload process was convenient and easy.
  • Five participants felt that the automated messaging system could reinforce communication with their providers.
  • Six phase two participants felt that graphic feedback on the phone was helpful.

Only 1 in 8 diabetes patients regularly achieves target levels of blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. This paper reports evaluations of HealthReachMobile, a suite of mobile applications that monitors blood glucose levels. Patients can use HealthReachMobile to communicate with providers and monitor daily trends in blood sugar levels.

Participants in the evaluation were diabetes patients at University of Washington clinics. This project received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through Project HealthDesign.