Article Abstract

A mobile diabetes management and educational system for type- 2 diabetics in Saudi Arabia (SAED)

Authors: Mohammed M. Alotaibi, Robert Istepanian, Nada Philip

Abstract

Background: Diabetes is a chronic disease, with high prevalence across many nations, which is characterized by elevated level of blood glucose and risk of acute and chronic complication. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has one of the highest levels of diabetes prevalence globally. It is well-known that the treatment of diabetes is complex process and requires both lifestyle change and clear pharmacologic treatment plan. To avoid the complication from diabetes, the effective behavioural change and extensive education and self-management is one of the key approaches to alleviate such complications. However, this process is lengthy and expensive. The recent studies on the user of smart phone technologies for diabetes self-management have proven to be an effective tool in controlling hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels especially in type-2 diabetic (T2D) patients. However, to date no reported study addressed the effectiveness of this approach in the in Saudi patients. This study investigates the impact of using mobile health technologies for the self-management of diabetes in Saudi Arabia.
Method: In this study, an intelligent mobile diabetes management system (SAED), tailored for T2D patients in KSA was developed. A pilot study of the SAED system was conducted in Saudi Arabia with 20 diabetic patients for 6 months duration. The patients were randomly categorized into a control group who did not use the SAED system and an intervention group whom used the SAED system for their diabetes management during this period. At the end of the follow-up period, the HbA1c levels in the patients in both groups were measure together with a diabetes knowledge test was also conducted to test the diabetes awareness of the patients.
Results: The results of SAED pilot study showed that the patients in the intervention group were able to significantly decrease their HbA1c levels compared to the control group. The SAED system also enhanced the diabetes awareness amongst the patients in the intervention group during the trial period. These outcomes confirm the global studies on the effectiveness of smart phone technologies in diabetes management. The significance of the study is that this was one of the first such studies conducted on Saudi patients and of their acceptance for such technology in their diabetes self-management treatment plans.
Conclusions: The pilot study of the SAED system showed that a mobile health technology can significantly improve the HbA1C levels among Saudi diabetic and improve their disease management plans. The SAED system can also be an effective and low-cost solution in improving the quality of life of diabetic patients in the Kingdom considering the high level of prevalence and the increasing economic burden of this disease.

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