Chronic diseases, especially diabetes mellitus, are huge public health burden. Therefore, new health care models for sharing the responsibility for care among health care providers and patients themselves are needed. The concept of empowerment promotes patient’s active involvement and control over their own health. It can be achieved through education, self-management, and shared decision making. All these aspects can be covered by mobile health technologies, the so-called mHealth. This term comprises mobile phones, patient monitoring devices, tablets, personal digital assistants, other wireless devices, and numerous apps. Many challenges of diabetics can be addressed by mHealth, including glycemic control, nutrition control, physical activity, high blood pressure, medication adherence, obesity, education, diabetic retinopathy screening, diabetic foot screening, and psychosocial care. However, mHealth plays only minor role in diabetes management, despite numerous apps on the market. Namely, these apps have many shortcomings and the majority of them does not include important functions. Moreover, these apps lack the perceived additional benefit by the user and the ease of use, important factors for acceptance of mHealth. Studies of diabetes apps regarding usability and accessibility have shown moderate results. Beside improvements of apps usability, the future of diabetes mHealth lies probably in personalized education and self-management with the help of decision support systems. At the same time, work on artificial pancreas is in progress and smartphone could be used as user interface.
Part of the book: Mobile Health Technologies