Objective: To evaluate the feasibility of an online interactive treatment environment for adolescents with type 1 diabetes, called Sugarsquare, to supplement usual care.
Research design and methods: Sugarsquare provides easily accessible contact with the diabetes team, peer support, and treatment overview. Of 120 eligible patients, 62 adolescents aged 11-21 (M = 15.23, SD = 2.00) were assigned to a usual-care group (n = 31) or a usual-care + intervention group (n = 31). Feasibility was assessed in terms of acceptability, demand, practicability, integration, and efficacy in a 9-month study-period.
Results: Assessment of acceptability and demand revealed that 20 adolescents in the intervention group (65%) logged in at least once; 16 adolescents (52%) logged in repeatedly. Usage resulted in 5795 page-views, 3580 chat-messages, 427 forum-messages, and in 40 private interactions between 11 adolescents (35%) and professionals. Assessment of practicability revealed that all 13 professionals (100%) accessed the intervention. Slow processing speed and security procedures formed obstacles for usage. Assessment of integration showed that international standards for diabetes care (International Diabetes Federation/International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes/American Diabetes Association) were met. Assessment of efficacy revealed improvement in the intervention group in evaluation of care (Patients' Evaluation of Quality of Diabetes), F(1,30) = 5.35, p < 0.05, and quality of life, communication (PedsQL), F(1,30) = 11.65, p <0.05. The latter was correlated with posted chat-messages (r = 0.42, p < 0.05). No between-group differences were found.
Conclusions: This study shows that Sugarsquare is feasible in adolescents with type 1 diabetes. It meets a demand in adolescents and can support professionals when organizing on-going care according to international standards. Results are promising and next steps are a full-scale randomized controlled trial and subsequent implementation in daily care.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01249742.
Keywords: Internet; adolescents; diabetes mellitus, type 1; feasibility studies; quality of life.
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.