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Phones and laptops of 'little benefit' for diabetes self-management

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Self-management interventions delivered by computer and mobile phone provide limited benefits for type 2 diabetes patients, according to a Cochrane review by University College London.

Computers and smartphones offer the potential to improve self-care for diabetes through patient- tailored support and education, but it was not previously clear whether such programmes “actually work”, the researchers said.

They reviewed 16 trials involving a total of 3,578 patients who used either type of device as part of self-management interventions for 1-12 months.

The interventions appeared safe, but had only limited positive effects, the reviewers said. There were small benefits for controlling HbA1C levels. But they waned after six months and there was no evidence that the interventions helped to improve depression, quality of life or weight.

Lead author Dr Kingshuk Pal, a senior primary care researcher at UCL, said: “Our review shows that although popular, computer-based diabetes self-management interventions currently have limited evidence supporting their use.”

He added: “Effective self-management is a complex task that may require changes to many aspects of people’s lives.

“Any intervention to help that process needs to support sustained behaviour change in different areas like eating habits, physical activity or taking medication regularly and provide emotional support. We did not see any convincing evidence for long-term change like this in the interventions we looked at.”


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Readers' comments (1)

  • I cannot do without the email to check my patients profiles daily.
    I do admit that you must be consistent in what you do and how you do it to reap the benefits.
    I have an agreement with my patients that I need to hear from them at least weekly and those patients are doing very well.

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