Mixed reactions to management program

The U.S. healthcare system, with a focus on outpatient visits for acute problems, might not be supporting patients with chronic illness in their everyday lives to manage their health. Newer communication technologies hold the promise of better collaboration between doctors and patients and improved chronic disease management. However, a new study1 reveals mixed reactions by patients with type 2 diabetes to a mobile phone and Web-based disease management program.

Researchers affiliated with the University of Washington, Seattle, and a local HMO expanded an existi ng web-based diabetes care program to allow patients to wirelessly upload blood-glucose values through mobile phones, communicate through e-mail with a care manager, and access their shared medical record from the Wii game system at home. Participants were trained to access the system through a smartphone, personal computer, and through the web on the Wii. After three months, each of the eight patients was interviewed about his or her experiences.

Participants expressed the following themes: connecting with the nurse practitioner was valuable, wirelessly uploading data from glucose meters was easy, the program increased health awareness, smartphone features were frustrating, and accessing the program through the Wii was not useful. The researchers concluded that some individuals are receptive to using web-based and mobile communication services to help manage diabetes. However, the technology can add frustrations to self-management if there are technical problems, such as those that arose from using older and perhaps less user-friendly smartphone models. This study was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Reference

  1. Lyles C, Harris L, Le T. Qualitative evaluation of a mobile phone and web-based collaborative care intervention for patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics 2011; 13:563-569.