How Do Smart Device Apps for Diabetes Self-Management Correspond with Theoretical Indicators of Empowerment? An Analysis of App Features

Nicola Brew-Sam, Arul Chib
2019 International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care  
AbstractObjectivesSmart device apps for diabetes have the potential to support patients in their daily disease management. However, uncertainty exists regarding their suitability for empowering patients to improve self-management behaviors. This paper addresses a general research gap regarding theoretically based examinations of empowerment in diabetes research, by examining how diabetes app features correspond with conceptual indicators of empowerment.MethodsWe examined features of 121 apps
more » ... diabetes self-management available in Singapore, with the second highest proportion of diabetes among developed nations, for psychological empowerment (feeling of empowerment) and for behavioral empowerment (social support).ResultsDiabetes apps studied offered a narrow range of features, with limited feature-sets corresponding to indicators of empowerment. Customization as a strategy to improve perceived relevance of diabetes self-management as an indicator of psychological empowerment was especially limited. Moreover, there was a lack of features supporting patients' communication with healthcare professionals and within their private social networks.ConclusionsMobile apps for diabetes self-management failed to provide relevant features for empowering patients. Specific practical recommendations target improved adoption, sustained usage, and effectiveness of diabetes self-management apps.
doi:10.1017/s0266462319000163 pmid:31017563 fatcat:lgcosod3jrg4tpyomrkpfdg5u4