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04-18-2019 | Mobile technology | News

News in brief

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.”

By Claire Barnard

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2019 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature group

JAMA 2019; 321: 1530–1532

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