Background: Advanced information technology can be used when developing diagnostic and treatment strategies to provide better care for diabetic patients. However, the levels of need and demand for the use of technological advances have not been investigated in diabetic patients. We proposed and developed an individualized, ubiquitous (U)-healthcare service using advanced information technology for more effective glucose control. Prior to our service initiation, we surveyed patient needs and other pertinent information.
Methods: During August 2009, we conducted a 34-item questionnaire survey among patients with diabetes who were older than 40 years in two certain hospitals in Korea.
Results: The mean age of the 228 participants was 61.2±9 years, and males made up 49.1% of the sample. Seventy-one percent replied that they wanted individualized healthcare service, and they also wanted their health information to be delivered through mobile devices such as a cellular phone or a personal digital assistant (40.4%). Most patients had never heard of U-healthcare services (81.1%); however, after explaining the concept, 71.1% of participants responded that they would use the service if it was provided. Despite their willingness, participants were concerned about technical difficulty in using the service (26.3%) as well as the cost of the service (29.8%).
Conclusion: The current study suggests that more than 70% of diabetic patients are interested in using U-healthcare services. To encourage widespread use, the application program or device of U-healthcare services should be simple, easy to use and affordable while also including a policy for the protection of private information.
Keywords: Blood glucose; Diabetes mellitus; Self-monitoring; U-healthcare system.