Article Text

  1. D. Roach1,
  2. J. B. Landry1,
  3. S. Malone1,
  4. V. Lipscomb1,
  5. M. Arrieta1
  1. 1Mobile County Health Department, Mobile, AL; University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL.


Purpose The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of implementation and acceptance by primary health care providers of a home monitoring system for diabetes control.

Methods Consenting subjects were provided a home monitoring device for diabetes. Consenting patients with diabetes, cared for by three physicians from a local public health care provider, were enrolled into the study. An “active subject” was a subject transmitting regularly collected blood glucose readings using the supplied equipment to the study coordinators via a land telephone line. Primary health care providers were interviewed to determine acceptability.

Results Fifteen patients (six women, nine men) with diabetes were enrolled into the study (nine African Americans and six Caucasians). Three patients were younger than 40 years of age. Six patients were between the ages of 41 and 50. Five patients were between the ages of 51 and 60. One patient was between the ages of 71 and 80. Ten patients had a high school education and five patients had some college. Fourteen of the patients are taking insulin. Two-thirds of the patients had diabetes for over 5 years. Nine diabetes subjects remained “active” following enrolment during the study period and six did not actively participate. Barriers to biomonitoring for the subjects in this population include lack of transportation for supplies and equipment adjustment, cost and availability of blood glucose monitoring supplies, low education level, and lack of land telephone line access. Primary health care provider acceptability was highly dependent on nursing support and varied by individual diabetic treatment approach and perceived usefulness.

Conclusions Home monitoring of blood glucose within urban, low-income populations is feasible, although acceptability is varied. Patient education and motivation to “actively” participate in the study may have occurred simply due to participation effect.

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