Online Self-Management Tools Found to be Useful for Patients with Poorly Controlled Type 2 Diabetes
Can online self-management tools help patients with diabetes manage their condition as well as more direct contact with an experienced care manager? Researchers examined this topic in a study titled, “A randomized comparison of online- and telephone-based care management with internet training alone in adult patients with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes.” The study was published online ahead of print in Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics.
The researchers recruited 151 adults with type 2 diabetes for the study. All of the participants had elevated hemoglobin A1c levels (≥ 8.5%). Participants were separated into 3 groups and assigned to different treatment conditions: an online care management group, a telephone-based care management group, and a Web training group.
Participants in the online care management group interacted with a care manager using an educational diabetes Web site, while participants in the telephone-based care management group worked with a care manager via phone. The individuals in the Web training group did not have a care manager, but they were provided access to online resources dedicated to self-management of diabetes.
To test the effectiveness of the different interventions, participants’ A1c levels were measured every 3 months over the course of a year. The results showed a significant decline in A1c levels in all participants over the 12 months studied. A1c declined at a rate of 0.32% (p<0.0001) each quarter for the online care management group and 0.36% (p<0.0001) for the telephone-based care management group. However, participants who only had access to the Web training resources also saw a decline (0.41%, p<0.0001).
At the end of the 12 months, the 3 groups converged with an absolute difference of -1.5% in A1c levels. The study authors conclude that access to Web-based training programs alone may provide many of the same benefits as care management in patients who have poor control over their diabetes.