Background: A prerequisite to translating research findings into practice is information on consistency of implementation, maintenance of results, and generalization of effects. This follow-up report is one of the few experimental studies to provide such information on Internet-based health education.
Methods: We present follow-up data 10 months following randomization on the "Diabetes Network (D-Net)" Internet-based self-management project, a randomized trial evaluating the incremental effects of adding (1) tailored self-management training or (2) peer support components to a basic Internet-based, information-focused comparison intervention. Participants were 320 adult type 2 diabetes patients from participating primary care offices, mean age 59 (SD = 9.2), who were relatively novice Internet users.
Results: All intervention components were consistently implemented by staff, but participant website usage decreased over time. All conditions were significantly improved from baseline on behavioral, psychosocial, and some biological outcomes; and there were few differences between conditions. Results were robust across on-line coaches, patient characteristics, and participating clinics.
Conclusions: The basic D-Net intervention was implemented well and improvements were observed across a variety of patients, interventionists, and clinics. There were, however, difficulties in maintaining usage over time and additions of tailored self-management and peer support components generally did not significantly improve results.