Qualitative Evaluation of a Mobile Phone and Web-Based Collaborative Care Intervention for Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

For patients with chronic illness such as type 2 diabetes, the day-to-day management of their health can be a challenge. This study evaluates the use of mobile devices for care management of people with diabetes.

This pilot intervention study enrolled eight patients, ages 18 to 75 with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes (defined as having an HbA1c level of greater than 7% within the last year) for a three-month trial. Participants were asked to utilize smartphones (while discontinuing the use of their current cell phone) and a Web browser page on the Nintendo® Wii videogame console. The mobile devices were used to upload glucose meter readings and interact with providers via email. Qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews with the patients was conducted at the conclusion of the three-month study.

Key Findings:

• Patients expressed an increased relationship with their care provider which heightened their self-care in managing their diabetes.

• The majority of patients voiced their frustration with using the smartphones and the Wii console due to several technical issues.

Overall, using mobile phones and Web-based technology for diabetes care management produced mixed results. While the benefit of mobile technology provides patients with the ability to communicate with their provider about their glucose reads, some frustration levels exist when technical difficulties arise.