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Disease management

Internet-based diabetes management tops traditional techniques

By Camille Ramlukan

KITCHENER, Ont. – St. Mary’s General Hospital announced the results of an Internet-based diabetes management study, conducted with Cambridge Memorial Hospital, Grand River Hospital and Micohealth, a private-sector company.

The study concluded that the Internet group made significant improvement in glycemic control, self-efficacy and self-management measures (i.e., managing the psychosocial aspects of diabetes, readiness to change, less negative attitude, and ability to care for their diabetes) compared to a control group.

In contrast with the control group, the Internet group also showed less of a need for support from friends or family after using the program. The Internet group was more satisfied with their diabetes care as they progressed in using the Internet.

The project evaluated the delivery and outcomes of an Internet Diabetes Program for adults. The health outcomes of the Internet Program were compared to a traditional diabetes education program in a randomized control trial. Dr. Erin Tjam, director of research at St. Mary’s, led the study, which included co-investigators from the University of Waterloo and St. Mary’s General Hospital.

The number of people who are receiving diabetic care is not keeping pace with the prevalence of the disease. As a result, new methods of care are needed to meet that gap. “Using the Internet to assist in disease management is a likely solution,” says Dr. Tjam. “Internet disease management has the potential to support self-care and reduce the existing diabetes care-burden.”

The study’s objectives were to improve patient’s disease management behaviors and health status. The Internet group used the program, designed by Micohealth, as their follow up service to monitor and manage the disease, whereas the control group continued with the traditional face-to-face clinical follow up.

The Internet Program enabled patients to submit records on blood glucose, medications, and activity levels and offered a library, emailing, and chatting capabilities with a diabetes nurse educator who provided interactive monitoring.

“Given the efficacy of the Internet Program, its feasibility to follow diabetes patients in a real healthcare setting should be explored as a means to reduce the burden and improve diabetes outcomes,” says Dr. Tjam.

Diabetes is a major cause of coronary disease, the leading cause of blindness and kidney disease and accounts for one of every seven healthcare dollars spent.

For more information please contact Dr. Erin Tjam at eytjam@smgh.ca, or visit Micohealth at www.micohealth.com.

 

 

 

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