Diabetic patients' willingness to use tele-technology to manage their disease
Objectives: Diabetes mellitus is a public health concern worldwide. TeleHealth technology may be an effective tool for empowering patients in the self-management of diabetes mellitus. However despite the great impact of diabetes on healthcare in Saudi Arabia, no research has investigated diabetic patients’ willingness to use this technology. This study investigates diabetic patients’ willingness to use tele-technology as a tool to monitor their disease.
Methods: Data were collected from diabetic patients attending the diabetes education clinic at the Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs (MNGHA) in the Eastern region of Saudi Arabia over a three month period. A survey was developed which measured patients’ willingness to use tele-technology in the self-management of their diabetes as well as their perceived expectations from the technology.
Results: The study found that the majority of patients were willing to use tele-technology to self- monitor their diabetes. However, a minority (11.3%) indicated willingness to use the system daily and only half indicated preference to use it once a week (53.8%). Patients who were younger, had higher education levels, were employed, had internet access and had Type II diabetes were significantly more likely to report willingness to use the technology.
Conclusions: Diabetic patients could be ready to play a more active role in their care if given the opportunity. Results from this study could serve as a baseline for future studies to develop targeted interventions by trialing tele-technology on a sample of the diabetic population. Patients with diabetes need to be in charge of their own care in order to improve health outcomes across the country.
Keywords: diabetes, self-management, tele-technology, willingness.
Abbreviations: Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs (MNGHA), Kingdom of Saud Arabia (KSA)