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      Rapid Evidence Review of Mobile Applications for Self-management of Diabetes

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          Abstract

          Patients with diabetes lack information on which commercially available applications (apps) improve diabetes-related outcomes. We conducted a rapid evidence review to examine features, clinical efficacy, and usability of apps for self-management of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in adults.

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          Most cited references 14

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          Mobile Applications for Diabetics: A Systematic Review and Expert-Based Usability Evaluation Considering the Special Requirements of Diabetes Patients Age 50 Years or Older

          Background A multitude of mhealth (mobile health) apps have been developed in recent years to support effective self-management of patients with diabetes mellitus type 1 or 2. Objective We carried out a systematic review of all currently available diabetes apps for the operating systems iOS and Android. We considered the number of newly released diabetes apps, range of functions, target user groups, languages, acquisition costs, user ratings, available interfaces, and the connection between acquisition costs and user ratings. Additionally, we examined whether the available applications serve the special needs of diabetes patients aged 50 or older by performing an expert-based usability evaluation. Methods We identified relevant keywords, comparative categories, and their specifications. Subsequently, we performed the app review based on the information given in the Google Play Store, the Apple App Store, and the apps themselves. In addition, we carried out an expert-based usability evaluation based on a representative 10% sample of diabetes apps. Results In total, we analyzed 656 apps finding that 355 (54.1%) offered just one function and 348 (53.0%) provided a documentation function. The dominating app language was English (85.4%, 560/656), patients represented the main user group (96.0%, 630/656), and the analysis of the costs revealed a trend toward free apps (53.7%, 352/656). The median price of paid apps was €1.90. The average user rating was 3.6 stars (maximum 5). Our analyses indicated no clear differences in the user rating between free and paid apps. Only 30 (4.6%) of the 656 available diabetes apps offered an interface to a measurement device. We evaluated 66 apps within the usability evaluation. On average, apps were rated best regarding the criterion “comprehensibility” (4.0 out of 5.0), while showing a lack of “fault tolerance” (2.8 out of 5.0). Of the 66 apps, 48 (72.7%) offered the ability to read the screen content aloud. The number of functions was significantly negative correlated with usability. The presence of documentation and analysis functions reduced the usability score significantly by 0.36 and 0.21 points. Conclusions A vast number of diabetes apps already exist, but the majority offer similar functionalities and combine only one to two functions in one app. Patients and physicians alike should be involved in the app development process to a greater extent. We expect that the data transmission of health parameters to physicians will gain more importance in future applications. The usability of diabetes apps for patients aged 50 or older was moderate to good. But this result applied mainly to apps offering a small range of functions. Multifunctional apps performed considerably worse in terms of usability. Moreover, the presence of a documentation or analysis function resulted in significantly lower usability scores. The operability of accessibility features for diabetes apps was quite limited, except for the feature “screen reader”.
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            Do Mobile Phone Applications Improve Glycemic Control (HbA1c) in the Self-management of Diabetes? A Systematic Review, Meta-analysis, and GRADE of 14 Randomized Trials.

            To investigate the effect of mobile phone applications (apps) on glycemic control (HbA1c) in the self-management of diabetes.
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              Mobile App-Based Interventions to Support Diabetes Self-Management: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials to Identify Functions Associated with Glycemic Efficacy

              Background Mobile health apps for diabetes self-management have different functions. However, the efficacy and safety of each function are not well studied, and no classification is available for these functions. Objective The aims of this study were to (1) develop and validate a taxonomy of apps for diabetes self-management, (2) investigate the glycemic efficacy of mobile app-based interventions among adults with diabetes in a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and (3) explore the contribution of different function to the effectiveness of entire app-based interventions using the taxonomy. Methods We developed a 3-axis taxonomy with columns of clinical modules, rows of functional modules and cells of functions with risk assessments. This taxonomy was validated by reviewing and classifying commercially available diabetes apps. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, the Chinese Biomedical Literature Database, and ClinicalTrials.gov from January 2007 to May 2016. We included RCTs of adult outpatients with diabetes that compared using mobile app-based interventions with usual care alone. The mean differences (MDs) in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) concentrations and risk ratios of adverse events were pooled using a random-effects meta-analysis. After taxonomic classification, we performed exploratory subgroup analyses of the presence or absence of each module across the included app-based interventions. Results Across 12 included trials involving 974 participants, using app-based interventions was associated with a clinically significant reduction of HbA1c (MD 0.48%, 95% CI 0.19%-0.77%) without excess adverse events. Larger HbA1c reductions were noted among patients with type 2 diabetes than those with type 1 diabetes (MD 0.67%, 95% CI 0.30%-1.03% vs MD 0.36%, 95% CI 0.08%-0.81%). Having a complication prevention module in app-based interventions was associated with a greater HbA1c reduction (with complication prevention: MD 1.31%, 95% CI 0.66%-1.96% vs without: MD 0.38%, 95% CI 0.09%-0.67%; intersubgroup P=.01), as was having a structured display (with structured display: MD 0.69%, 95% CI 0.32%-1.06% vs without: MD 0.16%, 95% CI 0.16%-0.48%; intersubgroup P=.03). However, having a clinical decision-making function was not associated with a larger HbA1c reduction (with clinical decision making: MD 0.18%, 95% CI 0.21%-0.56% vs without: MD 0.61%, 95% CI 0.27%-0.95%; intersubgroup P=.10). Conclusions The use of mobile app-based interventions yields a clinically significant HbA1c reduction among adult outpatients with diabetes, especially among those with type 2 diabetes. Our study suggests that the clinical decision-making function needs further improvement and evaluation before being added to apps.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of General Internal Medicine
                J GEN INTERN MED
                Springer Nature
                0884-8734
                1525-1497
                May 8 2018
                Article
                10.1007/s11606-018-4410-1
                6025680
                29740786
                © 2018

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