Computer-based diabetes self-management interventions have a small beneficial effect on blood glucose control, according to a review published online ahead of print in The Cochrane Library.

Kingshuk Pal, MB, BChir, from University College London, and colleagues reviewed the literature for published articles and conference proceedings involving randomized controlled trials of computer-based self-management interventions for adults with type 2 diabetes. Sixteen trials involving 3,578 participants were identified, representing a wide range of interventions, including clinic-based brief interventions, home Internet-based interventions, and mobile phone-based interventions, with interventions lasting from one to 12 months.

The researchers found that computer-based diabetes self-management currently has limited effectiveness, with small benefits in glycemic control (pooled effect on glycosylated hemoglobin A1c [HbA1c]: −2.3 mmol/mol or −0.2% based on 2,637 participants; 11 trials). The effect on HbA1c was larger in the mobile phone subgroup of 280 participants in three trials. The investigators found no evidence for improving depression, health-related quality of life, or weight in the current interventions, although four of 10 interventions showed beneficial effects on lipid profiles. Two studies provided some cost-effectiveness data, with one study showing no change in health behavior and resource utilization.

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“Computer-based diabetes self-management interventions to manage type 2 diabetes appear to have a small beneficial effect on blood glucose control, and the effect was larger in the mobile phone subgroup,” the authors wrote.