The flexibility of mobile phones and their adoption into everyday life mean that they are an ideal tool in supporting people with diabetes whose condition needs constant management. Mobile phones, which have been used effectively to support diabetes management,13141516 offer an ideal avenue for providing care at the patient’s desired intensity. Additionally, they can provide effective methods of support to patients in rural and remote locations where access to healthcare providers can be limited.1718 Although there is growing support for the use of mobile health (mHealth) in diabetes, there is increasing evidence of a digital divide, with lower use of some technologies in specific population groups.1920 These groups include people who have low health literacy,21 have low income,222324 and are members of ethnic minorities.2526 Contributing factors include low technology literacy, mismatch between individual needs and the available tools, lack of local information, cost, literacy and language barriers, and lack of cultural appropriateness.27 For mHealth tools to be used to manage poor diabetes control, they need to be designed to the needs and preferences of those people who need the greatest support by considering these factors.
There are three forms of the disease. People with Type 1 Diabetes typically make none of their own insulin and therefore require insulin injections for survival. People with Type 2 Diabetes, the form that comprises the majority of all cases, usually produce their own insulin, but not enough or they are unable to use it properly. Then there is Gestational Diabetes; globally, 1 in 7 births is affected by gestational diabetes. While maternal blood glucose levels usually return to normal after the baby is born, there is an increased risk of both mother and child developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life.
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-Keep your blood pressure under control. The same lifestyle changes that control blood glucose levels (dietary modifications and exercise) may also help you keep your blood pressure at safe levels. The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes keep their blood pressure below 140/80, but check with your health care professional about what target is best for you.
Of the 189 responders (35.0% response rate) to the patient survey, 19.6% (37/189) had used a diabetes app. App users were younger and in comparison to other forms of diabetes mellitus, users prominently had type 1 DM. The most favored feature of the app users was a glucose diary (87%, 32/37), and an insulin calculator was the most desirable function for a future app (46%, 17/37). In non-app users, the most desirable feature for a future app was a glucose diary (64.4%, 98/152). Of the 115 responders (40.2% response rate) to the HPs survey, 60.1% (68/113) had recommended a diabetes app. Diaries for blood glucose levels and carbohydrate counting were considered the most useful app features and the features HPs felt most confident to recommend. HPs were least confident in recommending insulin calculation apps.
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