Wireless and Mobile Technologies Improving Diabetes Self-Management

Wireless and Mobile Technologies Improving Diabetes Self-Management

Eirik Årsand, Naoe Tatara, Gunnar Hartvigsen
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-042-6.ch009
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The technological revolution that has created a vast health problem due to a drastic change in lifestyle also holds great potential for individuals to take better care of their own health. This is the focus of the presented overview of current applications, and prospects for future research and innovations. The presented overview and the main goals of the systems included are to utilize information and communication technologies (ICT) as aids in self-management of individual health challenges, for the disease Diabetes, both for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. People with diabetes are generally as mobile as the rest of the population, and should have access to mobile technologies for managing their disease. Forty-seven relevant studies and prototypes of mobile, diabetes-specific self-management tools meeting our inclusion criteria have been identified; 27 publicly available products and services, nine relevant patent applications, and 31 examples of other disease-related mobile self-management systems are included to provide a broader overview of the state of the art. Finally, the reviewed systems are compared, and future research directions are suggested.
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A search for patient-operated diabetes management software in general, including PC/Internet tools, shows that there are many systems available. No recently updated reviews were found, but a six-year-old study (Park & Daly, 2003) identified 47 Web-based or Windows-based programs for assisting people with diabetes in their self-help regimen, excluding educational and informational software. Few reviews of mobile diabetes systems were found. A search of the Cochrane Reviews database in June 2009 using the search words “diabetes” and “mobile” in all text fields yielded no relevant reviews, but some results with the status “Stage: Protocol”. Besides the review by Tatara, Årsand, Nilsen, and Hartvigsen (2009), two more general reviews covering the use of SMS in healthcare by Krishna, Boren, and Balas (2009) and Fjeldsoe, Marshall, and Miller (2009) were found, identifying some additional diabetes-specific mobile systems.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Medical Sensor System: A system in which sensor(s) are integrated in an application for a medical purpose.

Diabetes: A disease called Diabetes mellitus, a condition where the body either does not produce enough, or does not properly respond to the hormone insulin produced in the pancreas.

Self-Management: Ways that people with different chronic health problems help themselves.

ICT: Information and Communication Technologies, a broad range of technologies, methods for communication and techniques for storing and processing information.

EHealth: A recent term for healthcare practice which is supported by electronic processes and communication

Wireless Short-Range Communication: technologies that enable data and voice communication between both mobile and stationary devices.

BGM: Blood Glucose Monitor, a sensor device for testing the concentration of glucose in the blood.

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