Users' preferences and design recommendations to promote engagement with mobile apps for diabetes self-management: multi-national perspectives

Adu, Mary D., Malabu, Usman H., Malau-Aduli, Aduli E.O., and Malau-Aduli, Bunmi S. (2018) Users' preferences and design recommendations to promote engagement with mobile apps for diabetes self-management: multi-national perspectives. PLoS ONE, 13 (12). e0208942.

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Background: Mobile phone applications (apps) offer motivation and support for self-management of diabetes mellitus (DM), but their use is limited by high attrition due to insufficient consideration of end-users perspectives and usability requirements. This study aimed to examine app usage and feature preferences among people with DM, and explore their recommendations for future inclusions to foster engagement with diabetes apps.

Methods: The study was conducted internationally on adults with type 1 or type 2 DM using online questionnaire (quantitative) to investigate usage and preferences for app features that support diabetes self-management and semi structured telephone interview (qualitative) to explore suggestions on fostering engagement and specific educational information for inclusion into diabetes apps. Survey and interview data were analysed using descriptive/ inferential statistics and inductive thematic analysis respectively.

Results: A total of 217 respondents with type 1 DM (38.25%) or type 2 DM (61.8%), from 4 continents (Australia, Europe, Asia and America) participated in the survey. About half of the respondents (48%) use apps, mainly with features for tracking blood glucose (56.6%), blood pressure (51.9%) and food calories (48.1%). Preferred features in future apps include nutrient values of foods (56.7%), blood glucose (54.8%), physical exercise tracker (47%), health data analytics (42.9%) and education on diabetes self-management (40.6%). Irrespective of the type of DM, participants proposed future apps that are user friendly, support healthy eating, provide actionable reminders and consolidate data across peripheral health devices. Participants with type 1 DM recommended customised features with news update on developments in the field of diabetes. Nominated specific educational topics included tips on problem solving, use of insulin pump therapy, signs of diabetes complication and transitioning from paediatric into adult care.

Conclusions: The study has highlighted patients’ perspectives on essential components for inclusion in diabetes apps to promote engagement and foster better health outcomes.

Item ID: 56574
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Copyright Information: © 2018 Adu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funders: Australian Government (AG)
Projects and Grants: AG International Training Program Scholarship
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2018 00:28
FoR Codes: 46 INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES > 4601 Applied computing > 460102 Applications in health @ 40%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3202 Clinical sciences > 320208 Endocrinology @ 30%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420399 Health services and systems not elsewhere classified @ 30%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920104 Diabetes @ 100%
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