Using Technology to Provide Diabetes Education for Rural Communities


Type 2 diabetes, Diabetes self-management education, technology, rural


Purpose:  Diabetes self-management education is the cornerstone of type 2 diabetes management.  With appropriate education, people living with diabetes can learn to manage their diabetes which could prevent complications.  Diabetes prevalence is higher in rural areas compared to urban areas.  People living with diabetes in rural areas face significant challenges to care including limited access to diabetes education.  The purpose of this pilot study was to develop, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness of diabetes self-management educational modules delivered via iPad devices to increase self-management knowledge levels in adults living with type 2 diabetes mellitus in rural areas. 

Sample: Study participants included 30 adults living with type 2 diabetes who visited health promotion clinics in rural communities.  

Method:  This pilot study involved collaboration between nursing and engineering faculty and students.  Ten diabetes self-management educational modules were developed and delivered electronically on iPad devices.  The modules were presented to people living with type 2 diabetes mellitus who attended health promotion clinics in rural communities.  Participants completed a diabetes knowledge questionnaire before and after educational modules were presented. 

Findings:  Diabetes knowledge scores showed a statistically significant increase from pre to post-educational intervention. 

Conclusions: Diabetes education delivered using modules on iPad devices was effective at increasing knowledge levels of people in rural areas living with type two diabetes.  This may be an effective method for people living in rural areas who have limited access to healthcare and diabetes education.

Keywords:  Type 2 diabetes, diabetes self-management education, technology, rural


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