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J Med Internet Res. 2018 May 7;20(5):e172. doi: 10.2196/jmir.9133.

Effectiveness of Internet-Based Interventions on Glycemic Control in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.

Author information

1
School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, China.
2
Department of Health and Education, Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning, Beijing, China.
3
Institute for Medical Humanities, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, China.
4
Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, North Carolina, NC, United States.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The popularity of internet as an area of research has grown manifold over the years. Given its rapid development and increasing coverage worldwide, internet-based interventions seem to offer a promising option to ameliorate huge burdens brought by type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, studies conducted by different researchers have provided contradictory results on the effect of internet-based interventions in glycemic control.

OBJECTIVE:

This meta-analysis aims to summarize currently available evidence and evaluate the overall impact of internet-based interventions on glycemic management of type 2 diabetic patients.

METHODS:

A systematic literature search was performed in PubMed, ScienceDirect, and Web of Science. Randomized controlled trials that used glycosylated hemoglobin values as the outcome measure of glycemic control were considered. Risk of bias and publication bias were evaluated.

RESULTS:

Of the 492 studies, 35 were included in meta-analysis, and results indicated that the weighted mean difference (WMD) between usual care and internet-based interventions at endpoint was -0.426% (95% CI -0.540 to -0.312; P<.001). Subgroup analyses revealed that intervention duration ≤3 months yielded optimal performance (WMD -0.51%; 95% CI -0.71 to -0.31; P<.001). Combined mobile and website interventions were substantially superior to solely Web-based and mobile-based interventions in glycemic control (combined WMD -0.77%, 95% CI -1.07 to -0.47; P<.001; Web only: WMD -0.48%; 95% CI -0.71 to -0.24, P<.001; mobile only WMD -0.31%, 95% CI -0.49 to -0.14; P<.001). Furthermore, the effect of interventions with automated feedbacks was similar to those with manual feedbacks, and studies with internet-based educational contents were more effective in glycemic control. The assessment revealed a low risk of bias.

CONCLUSIONS:

In conclusion, utilization of internet-based intervention is beneficial for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, and taking full advantage of this type of intervention may substantially reduce the incidence of complications and improve quality of life.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO): CRD42017058032; https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO/display_record.php?RecordID=58032 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6yY7eQNHr).

KEYWORDS:

HbA1c; internet; meta-analysis; randomized controlled trial; type 2 diabetes mellitus

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