What do we know about mobile applications for diabetes self-management? A review of reviews
Diabetes is a chronic illness with significant health consequences, especially for those who are unable to adhere to the complex treatment regimen. Self-management tasks such as regular medication and insulin use, frequent blood sugar checks, strict diet management, and consistent exercise can be quite challenging. Mobile technologies, specifically mobile applications (apps), present a unique opportunity to help patients improve adherence to these behaviors. The availability of commercial diabetes self-management apps is increasing rapidly, making it difficult for patients and providers to stay informed about app options. A number of reviews have described commercial app technology and use for patients with diabetes. The aims of this article are to summarize the results and themes of those reviews, to review outcomes of apps described in the research literature, and to identify areas for further consideration in the use of mobile apps for diabetes self-management.
KeywordsDiabetes Self-management Behavior adherence Mobile applications Review mHealth
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Megan Hood, Rebecca Wilson, Joyce Corsica, Lauren Bradley, Diana Chirinos, Amanda Vivo declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and animal rights and Informed consent
All procedures followed were in accordance with ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.
- Arnhold, M., Quade, M., & Kirch, W. (2014). Mobile applications for diabetics: A systematic review and expert-based usability evaluation considering the special requirements of diabetes patients age 50 years or older. Journal of Medical Internet Research,. doi: 10.2196/jmir.2968 PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Årsand, E., Frøisland, D. H., Skrøvseth, S. O., Chomutare, T., Tatara, N., Hartvigsen, G., et al. (2012). Mobile health applications to assist patients with diabetes: Lessons learned and design implications. Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, 6, 1197–1206. doi: 10.1177/193229681200600525 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Årsand, E., Tatara, N., Østengen, G., & Hartvigsen, G. (2010). Mobile phone-based self-management tools for type 2 diabetes: The few touch application. Journal of Diabetes, 4, 328–336.Google Scholar
- Center for Disease Control (2014) National diabetes statistics report, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/statsreport14/national-diabetes-report-web.pdf
- Chomutare, T., Fernandez-Luque, L., Årsand, E., & Hartvigsen, G. (2011). Features of mobile diabetes applications: Review of the literature and analysis of current applications compared against evidence-based guidelines. Journal of Medical Internet Research,. doi: 10.2196/jmir.1874 PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Cochrane Collaboration (2014, April 28). Social media resources. Retrieved February 2, 2016, from http://community.cochrane.org/about-us/evidence-based-health-care/webliography/social-media
- FDA (2015). What is the difference between FDA-listed, 510(k) exempt, cleared and approved medical devices? http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/Transparency/Basics/ucm194468.htm. Retrieved 11 Jan 2015.
- Gibson, O. J., Tarassenko, L., McSharry, P. E., Hayton, P. M., Farmer, A. J., & Neil, H. A. W. (2007). Clinical evaluation of a mobile phone telemedicine system for the self-management of type 1 diabetes. Proceedings of PGBiomed, Reading, UK, 2005, 3–4.Google Scholar
- GO-Gulf (2012, January 2). Smartphone users around the world—Statistics and facts infographic, [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.go-gulf.com/blog/smartphone/
- Holmen, H., Torbjørnsen, A., Wahl, A. K., Jenum, A. K., Småstuen, M. C., Årsand, E., et al. (2014). A mobile health intervention for self-management and lifestyle change for persons with type 2 diabetes, part 2: One-year results from the Norwegian randomized controlled trial RENEWING HEALTH. Journal of Medical Internet Research mHealth and uHealth,. doi: 10.2196/mhealth.3882 Google Scholar
- Kumar, V. S., Wentzell, K. J., Mikkelsen, T., Pentland, A., & Laffel, L. M. (2004). The DAILY (Daily Automated Intensive Log for Youth) Trial: A wireless, portable system to improve adherence and glycemic control in youth with diabetes. Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics, 6, 445–453. doi: 10.1089/1520915041705893 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Laranjo, L., Arguel, A., Neves, A. L., Gallagher, A. M., Kaplan, R., Mortimer, N., et al. (2014). The influence of social networking sites on health behavior change: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 22, 243–256. doi: 10.1136/amiajnl-2014-002841 PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Lee, J. (2014). Hype or hope for diabetes mobile health applications? Diabetes Voice, 59, 43–46. Retrieved from http://www.idf.org/sites/default/files/attachments/DV59-3-EN.pdf#page=47
- Miltenberger, R. G. (2015). Behavior modification: Principles and procedures (6th ed.). Boston: Cengage Learning.Google Scholar
- Nahum-Shani, S., Smith, S. N., Tewari, A., Witkiewitz, K., Collins, L. M., Spring, B., & Murphy, S. A. (2014). Just-in-time adaptive interventions (JITAIs): An organizing framework for ongoing health behavior support. Technical Report No. 14-126. University Park, PA: The Methodology Center, Penn State.Google Scholar
- Padman, R., Jaladi, S., Kim, S., Kumar, S., Orbeta, P., Rudolph, K., & Tran, T. (2013). An evaluation framework and a pilot study of a mobile platform for diabetes self-management: insights from pediatric users. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, 192, 333–337. Retrieved from http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/23920571
- Quinn, C. C., Clough, S. S., Minor, J. M., Lender, D., Okafor, M. C., & Gruber-Baldini, A. (2008). WellDoc™ mobile diabetes management randomized controlled trial: Change in clinical and behavioral outcomes and patient and physician satisfaction. Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics, 10, 160–168. doi: 10.1089/dia.2008.0283 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Rossi, M. C. E., Nicolucci, A., Bartolo, P. D., Bruttomesso, D., Girelli, A., Ampudia, F. J., et al. (2010). Diabetes interactive diary: A new telemedicine system enabling flexible diet and insulin therapy while improving quality of life an open-label, international, multicenter, randomized study. Diabetes Care, 33, 109–115. doi: 10.2337/dc09-1327 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Rossi, M. C. E., Nicolucci, A., Pellegrini, F., Bruttomesso, D., Bartolo, P. D., Marelli, G., et al. (2009). Interactive diary for diabetes: A useful and easy-to-use new telemedicine system to support the decision-making process in type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, 11, 19–24. doi: 10.1089/dia.2008.0020 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- SmartBear Software (2015) What is mobile testing? Retrieved January 15, 2015 from https://smartbear.com/learn/software-testing/what-is-mobile-testing/
- Torbjørnsen, A., Jenum, A. K., Småstuen, M. C., Årsand, E., Holmen, H., Wahl, A. K., et al. (2014). A low-intensity mobile health intervention with and without health counseling for persons with type 2 diabetes, part 1: Baseline and short-term results from a randomized controlled trial in the Norwegian part of RENEWING HEALTH. Journal of Medical Internet Research mHealth and uHealth, 2, e52. doi: 10.2196/mhealth.3535 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Vaala, S. E., Hood, K. K., Laffel, L., Kumah-Crystal, Y. A., Lybarger, C. K., & Mulvaney, S. A. (2015). Use of commonly available technologies for diabetes information and self-management among adolescents with type 1 diabetes and their parents: A web-based survey study. Interactive Journal of Medical Research, 4, e24.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Waki, K., Fujita, H., Uchimura, Y., Omae, K., Aramaki, E., Kato, S., et al. (2014). DialBetics: A novel smartphone-based self-management support system for type 2 diabetes patients. Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, 8, 209–215. doi: 10.1177/1932296814526495 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Winter, S. J., Sheats, J. L., & King, A. C. (2016). The use of behavior change techniques and theory in technologies for cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment in adults: A comprehensive review. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, 58, 605–612. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2016.02.005 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- World Health Organization (2011). mHealth: New horizons for health through mobile technologies: Based on the findings of the second global survey on eHealth. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/goe/publications/goe_mhealth_web.pdf