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Telemed J E Health. 2012 Apr;18(3):175-84. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2011.0119. Epub 2012 Feb 22.

Diabetes management via mobile phones: a systematic review.

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Center for Clinical Management Research, Veteran Affairs Ann Arbor Health Care System, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105, USA.



This study sought to understand the most common uses and functions of mobile phones in monitoring and managing diabetes, their potential role in a clinical setting, and the current state of research in this area.


We identified peer-reviewed articles published between 2000 and 2010. Twenty-one articles were analyzed for this systematic literature review.


The majority of studies examined the use of mobile phones from the patient's perspective. Subjects with type 1 diabetes were enrolled exclusively in over 50% of the studies. Seventy-one percent of the studies used a study-specific application, which had supplemental features in addition to text messaging. The outcomes assessed varied considerably across studies, but some positive trends were noted, such as improved self-efficacy, hemoglobin A1c, and self-management behaviors.


The studies evaluated showed promise in using mobile phones to help people with diabetes manage their condition effectively. However, many of these studies lacked sufficient sample sizes or intervention lengths to determine whether the results might be clinically or statistically significant. Future research should examine other key issues, such as provider perceptions, integration into a healthcare practice, and cost, which would provide important insight into the use of mobile phones for chronic disease management.

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