Using the World Wide Web--a new approach to risk identification of diabetes mellitus

Int J Med Inform. 1997 Aug;46(1):31-9. doi: 10.1016/s1386-5056(97)00049-x.


Diabetes mellitus is a major health problem with a rising tendency world-wide. A new strategy for risk evaluation and data collection of undiagnosed non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) using the World Wide Web (WWW) is presented. An easy-to-handle questionnaire on typical risk factors was converted into an interactive WWW document. The Internet provides the suitable platform for the net-based distribution of the questionnaire form as well as the computer-assisted entering and interpretation of the data (http:(/)/ The analysis program, installed on our WWW server, interprets the information and sends the assessment on-line back to the inquiring user PC. The data are also collected anonymously in a database for epidemiological studies. In the test period, 744 world-wide accesses were registered: 433 men, mean age 39.8 +/- 14.4 years (range 10-83) and 311 women, mean age 36.7 +/- 12.7 years (range 11-77). An increased risk for undiagnosed diabetes was identified to 43.6%. The risk profile of male and female users showed no significant gender-related differences. Using the WWW technology can support early detection and adequate treatment of undiagnosed diabetes. This innovative strategy to screen for a high risk profile is an useful, cost-effective and up-to-date tool for broad community health education and epidemiological studies world-wide.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Computer Communication Networks*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Data Collection
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Databases as Topic
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Global Health
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / economics
  • Microcomputers
  • Middle Aged
  • Online Systems
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires