Smartphone-enabled health coach intervention for people with diabetes from a modest socioeconomic strata community: single-arm longitudinal feasibility study

J Med Internet Res. 2014 Jun 6;16(6):e149. doi: 10.2196/jmir.3180.


Background: Lower socioeconomic strata (SES) populations have higher chronic disease risks. Smartphone-based interventions can support adoption of health behaviors that may, in turn, reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes-related complications, overcoming the obstacles that some patients may have with regular clinical contact (eg, shiftwork, travel difficulties, miscommunication).

Objective: The intent of the study was to develop and test a smartphone-assisted intervention that improves behavioral management of type 2 diabetes in an ethnically diverse, lower SES population within an urban community health setting.

Methods: This single-arm pilot study assessed a smartphone application developed with investigator assistance and delivered by health coaches. Participants were recruited from the Black Creek Community Health Centre in Toronto and had minimal prior experience with smartphones.

Results: A total of 21 subjects consented and 19 participants completed the 6-month trial; 12 had baseline glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels >7.0% and these subjects demonstrated a mean reduction of 0.43% (SD 0.63) (P<.05) with minimal changes in medication.

Conclusions: This project supported the feasibility of smartphone-based health coaching for individuals from lower SES with minimal prior smartphone experience.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus; health coaching; telehealth; type 2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cell Phone*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Electronic Mail
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Class
  • Telemedicine*


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A