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Early Insights From a Digitally Enhanced Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support Program: Single-Arm Nonrandomized Trial

Date Published: February 22, 2021


Background: Translation of diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) into a digital format can improve access, but few digital programs have demonstrated outcomes using rigorous evaluation metrics.

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a digital DSMES program on hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) for people with type 2 diabetes.

Methods: A single-arm, nonrandomized trial was performed to evaluate a digital DSMES program that includes remote monitoring and lifestyle change, in addition to comprehensive diabetes education staffed by a diabetes specialist. A sample of 195 participants were recruited using an online research platform (Achievement Studies, Evidation Health Inc). The primary outcome was change in laboratory-tested HbA1c from baseline to 4 months, and secondary outcomes included change in lipids, diabetes distress, and medication adherence.

Results: At baseline, participants had a mean HbA1c of 8.9% (SD 1.9) and mean BMI of 37.5 kg/m2 (SD 8.3). The average age was 45.1 years (SD 8.9), 70% were women, and 67% were White. At 4-month follow up, the HbA1c decreased by 0.8% (P<.001, 95% CI -1.1 to -0.5) for the total population and decreased by 1.4% (P<.001, 95% CI -1.8 to -0.9) for those with an HbA1c of >9.0% at baseline. Diabetes distress and medication adherence were also significantly improved between baseline and follow up.

Conclusions: This study provides early evidence that a digitally enhanced DSMES program improves HbA1c and disease self-management outcomes.