Background: Internet technology has been proven to be a successful tool for the management of patients with multiple medical conditions. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the feasibility of monitoring glucose control in indigent women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) over the Internet.
Methods: Women with GDM were randomized to either the Internet group (n = 32) or the control group (n = 25). Patients in the Internet group were provided with computers and/or Internet access if needed. A website was established for documentation of glucose values and communication between the patient and the health care team. Women in the control group maintained paper logbooks, which were reviewed at each prenatal visit. Maternal feelings of diabetes self-efficacy were assessed at study entry and again before delivery.
Results: Women in the Internet group accessed the system and sent on average 21.8 (+/- 16.9) sets of data. There was no difference between the two groups in regards either fasting or post-prandial blood glucose values, although more women in the Internet group received insulin therapy (31% vs. 4%; P <0.05). There were also no significant differences in pregnancy and neonatal outcomes between the two groups. Women in the Internet group demonstrated significantly higher feelings of self-efficacy at the study's end.
Conclusions: The benefit of monitoring blood glucose in indigent women with GDM via the Internet was limited by their infrequent use of the telemedicine system. Although system use was not associated with improved pregnancy outcomes, women in the telemedicine group did experience enhanced feelings of diabetes psychosocial self-efficacy.