Previous dropout from diabetic care as a predictor of patients' willingness to use mobile applications for self-management: A cross-sectional study

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Preventing dropout is crucial in managing diabetes. Accordingly, we investigated whether patients who had dropped out of diabetic care are suitable candidates for the use of mobile technologies – such as smartphone applications – to support self-management (mHealth), which might help prevent dropout.

Materials and Methods

We carried out a cross-sectional study in Tokyo, Japan. Patients aged 20 years or older who were clinically diagnosed as diabetic and who regularly visited the outpatient unit at the University of Tokyo Hospital were recruited between August 2014 and March 2015. Data were collected through face-to-face structured interviews, physical measurements and medical records. Participants were asked whether they were willing to use mHealth after being shown DialBetics – an mHealth application for diabetics – as an example, and about their history of dropout and previous mHealth experience. Data were analyzed by multivariate logistic regression models.


Of 307 patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, 34 (11.1%) had previously dropped out from diabetic care. Multivariate analysis identified previous mHealth experience as a negative predictor of dropout (odds ratio 0.211, P = 0.023). Of those 34 patients, 27 (79.4%) expressed willingness to use mHealth, a significantly higher percentage than for those who had never dropped out (51.5%, P = 0.002). After adjusting for confounders, history of dropout remained a strong predictor of willingness (odds ratio 3.870, P = 0.004).


Patients who previously dropped out of diabetic care are suitable candidates for mHealth. Future studies must evaluate whether mHealth is effective for preventing repeated dropout and improving glycemic control among this population.

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