What do we know about mobile applications for diabetes self-management? A review of reviews

J Behav Med. 2016 Dec;39(6):981-994. doi: 10.1007/s10865-016-9765-3. Epub 2016 Jul 13.


Diabetes is a chronic illness with significant health consequences, especially for those who are unable to adhere to the complex treatment regimen. Self-management tasks such as regular medication and insulin use, frequent blood sugar checks, strict diet management, and consistent exercise can be quite challenging. Mobile technologies, specifically mobile applications (apps), present a unique opportunity to help patients improve adherence to these behaviors. The availability of commercial diabetes self-management apps is increasing rapidly, making it difficult for patients and providers to stay informed about app options. A number of reviews have described commercial app technology and use for patients with diabetes. The aims of this article are to summarize the results and themes of those reviews, to review outcomes of apps described in the research literature, and to identify areas for further consideration in the use of mobile apps for diabetes self-management.

Keywords: Behavior adherence; Diabetes; Mobile applications; Review; Self-management; mHealth.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Self Care / methods*