Study highlights ‘immaturity’ of diabetes self-management apps
medwireNews: A large proportion of mobile apps for self-management of blood glucose do not provide real-time decision support for users with type 2 diabetes, researchers report.
The study, published as a research letter in JAMA, found that glucose levels could be recorded in all of the 371 apps studied, with 58.8% and 58.4% alerting users to hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, respectively.
But Josip Car (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) and colleagues found that only 20.7% of the 217 apps with a hypoglycemia alert were accompanied by an action prompt such as seek medical help, consume food or sugar, or remeasure. Similarly, just 26.7% of the 216 apps with a hyperglycemia alert prompted a suggested action such as check ketones, seek medical help, monitor closely, or use corrective insulin. Education related to blood glucose monitoring was included in 10.6% of apps.
Therefore, “[t]he majority of diabetes apps did not provide real-time decision support or situation-specific education on blood glucose self-management,” demonstrating “the immaturity of [these] apps and missed opportunities to improve care and health outcomes,” say the study authors.
They conclude: “Quality assurance mechanisms such as certification of apps are needed to help achieve their potential of supporting diabetes care.”
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