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J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2008 Jan;2(1):15-23.

Veterans Affairs research on health information technologies for diabetes self-management support.

Author information

1
Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Practice Management and Outcomes Research, Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center, and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48113-0710, USA. jpiette@umich.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Like many patients with diabetes, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) patients frequently fall short of self-management goals and experience multiple barriers to self-care. Health information technologies (HITs) may provide the tools that patients need to manage their illness under the direction of their primary care team.

METHODS:

We describe several ongoing projects focused on HIT resources for self-management in VA. VA researchers are developing HITs that seek to bolster a variety of potential avenues for self-management support, including patients' relationships with other patients, connections with their informal care networks, and communication with their health care teams.

RESULTS:

Veterans Affairs HIT research projects are developing services that can address the needs of patients with multiple challenges to disease self-care, including multimorbidity, health literacy deficits, and limited treatment access. These services include patient-to-patient interactive voice response (IVR) calling systems, IVR assessments with feedback to informal caregivers, novel information supports for clinical pharmacists based on medication refill data, and enhanced pedometers.

CONCLUSION:

Large health care systems such as the VA can play a critical role in developing HITs for diabetes self-care. To be truly effective, these efforts should include a continuum of studies: observational research to identify barriers to self-management, developmental studies (e.g., usability testing), efficacy trials, and implementation studies to evaluate utility in real-world settings. VA HIT researchers partner with operations to promote the dissemination of efficacious services, and such relationships will be critical to move HIT innovations into practice.

KEYWORDS:

chronic disease; disease management; informatics; telephone care

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