Objective: Internet-based programs offer potential for practical, cost-effective chronic illness self-management programs.
Methods: We report 12-month results of an Internet-based diabetes self-management program, with and without additional support, compared to enhanced usual care in a 3-arm practical randomized trial. Patients (n=463) were randomized: 77.3% completed 12-month follow-up. Primary outcomes were changes in health behaviors of healthy eating, physical activity, and medication taking. Secondary outcomes were hemoglobin A1c, body mass index, lipids, blood pressure, and psychosocial factors.
Results: Internet conditions improved health behaviors significantly vs. usual care over the 12-month period (d for effect size=.09-.16). All conditions improved moderately on biological and psychosocial outcomes. Latinos, lower literacy, and higher cardiovascular disease risk patients improved as much as other participants.
Conclusions: The Internet intervention meets the reach and feasibility criteria for a potentially broad public health impact. However, 12-month magnitude of effects was small, suggesting that different or more intensive approaches are necessary to support long-term outcomes. Research is needed to understand the linkages between intervention and maintenance processes and downstream outcomes.
Practice implications: Automated self-management interventions should be tailored and integrated into primary care; maintenance of patient self-management can be enhanced through links to community resources.
Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.