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Authors: Wangler, Julian
Jansky, Michael
Title: Attitudes and experiences of registered diabetes specialists in using health apps for managing type 2 diabetes : results from a mixed-methods study in Germany 2021/2022
Online publication date: 17-Aug-2023
Year of first publication: 2023
Language: english
Abstract: Background Hardly any area of application for health apps is seen to be as promising as health and lifestyle support in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Research has emphasised the benefits of such mHealth apps for disease prevention, monitoring, and management, but there is still a lack of empirical data on the role that health apps play in actual type 2 diabetes care. The aim of the present study was to gain an overview of the attitudes and experiences of physicians specialising in diabetes with regard to the benefits of health apps for type 2 diabetes prevention and management. Methods An online survey was conducted amongst all 1746 physicians at practices specialised in diabetes in Germany between September 2021 and April 2022. A total of 538 (31%) of the physicians contacted participated in the survey. In addition, qualitative interviews were conducted with 16 randomly selected resident diabetes specialists. None of the interviewees took part in the quantitative survey. Results Resident diabetes specialists saw a clear benefit in type 2 diabetes-related health apps, primarily citing improvements in empowerment (73%), motivation (75%), and compliance (71%). Respondents rated self-monitoring for risk factors (88%), lifestyle-supporting (86%), and everyday routine features (82%) as especially beneficial. Physicians mainly in urban practice environments were open to apps and their use in patient care despite their potential benefit. Respondents expressed reservations and doubts on app user-friendliness in some patient groups (66%), privacy in existing apps (57%), and the legal conditions of using apps in patient care (80%). Of those surveyed, 39% felt capable of advising patients on diabetes-related apps. Most of the physicians that had already used apps in patient care saw positive effects in increased compliance (74%), earlier detection of or reduction in complications (60%), weight reduction (48%), and decreased HbA1c levels (37%). Conclusions Resident diabetes specialists saw a real-life benefit with added value from health apps for managing type 2 diabetes. Despite the favourable role that health apps may play in disease prevention and management, many physicians expressed reservations regarding usability, transparency, security, and privacy in such apps. These concerns should be addressed more intensively towards bringing about ideal conditions for integrating health apps successfully in diabetes care. This includes uniform standards governing quality, privacy, and legal conditions as binding as possible with regard to apps and their use in a clinical setting.
DDC: 610 Medizin
610 Medical sciences
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 04 Medizin
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
Document type specification: Scientific article
License: CC BY
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Journal: Archives of public health
Pages or article number: 36
Publisher: Archives
Publisher place: Bruxelles
Issue date: 2023
ISSN: 2049-3258
Publisher DOI: 10.1186/s13690-023-01051-0
Appears in collections:DFG-491381577-G

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