Building a Virtual Environment for Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support

Int J Virtual Communities Soc Netw. 2013;5(3):111359. doi: 10.4018/ijvcsn.2013070105.


The authors developed an immersive diabetes community to provide diabetes self-management education and support for adults with type 2 diabetes. In this article the authors describe the procedures used to develop this virtual environment (VE). Second Life Impacts Diabetes Education & Self-Management (SLIDES), the VE for our diabetes community was built in Second Life. Social Cognitive Theory, behavioral principles and key aspects of virtual environments related to usability were applied in the development in this VE. Collaboration between researchers, clinicians and information technology (IT) specialists occurred throughout the development process. An interactive community was successfully built and utilized to provide diabetes self-management education and support. VEs for health applications may be innovative and enticing, yet it must be kept in mind that there are substantial effort, expertise, and usability factors that must be considered in the development of these environments for health care consumers.

Keywords: Diabetes; Diabetes Education; Self-Management; Technical Architecture; Virtual Environment.