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Assessing the Need for Mobile Health (mHealth) in Monitoring the Diabetic Lower Extremity.


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Complications of the diabetic lower extremity (such as diabetic foot ulcers, DFUs) occur when monitoring is infrequent, and often result in serious sequelae like amputation or even death. OBJECTIVE:To evaluate the potential application of mobile health (mHealth) to diabetic foot monitoring. We surveyed the self-management routines of a group of diabetic patients, as well as patient and clinician opinions on the use of mHealth in this context. METHODS:Patients with DFUs in Toronto, Ontario, Canada completed a 25-item questionnaire addressing their foot care practices, mobile phone use, and views on mHealth. Wound care clinicians across Canada were also surveyed using a 9-item questionnaire. RESULTS:Of the patients surveyed, 59/115 (51.3%) spend less than a minute checking their feet, and 17/115 (15%) of patients find it difficult to see their doctor or get to the hospital regularly. Mobile phone use was widespread in our patient cohort (93/115, 80.9%). Of mobile phone users, 68/93 (73.1%) would use a device on their mobile phone to help them check their feet. Of the clinicians who completed the questionnaire, only 7/202 (3.5%) were familiar with mHealth; however, 181/202 (92%) of clinicians expressed interest in using mHealth to monitor their patients between visits. CONCLUSIONS:Patient education or motivation and clinician training were identified as the major barriers to mHealth use in the diabetic lower extremity, which may be a viable mechanism to improve DFU monitoring practices.

SUBMITTER: Wallace D 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6488952 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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