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Impact of technology-based interventions for children and young people with type 1 diabetes on key diabetes self-management behaviours and prerequisites: a systematic review

Knox, Emily C. L.; Quirk, Helen; Glazebrook, Cris; Randell, Tabitha; Blake, Holly


Emily C. L. Knox

Helen Quirk

Tabitha Randell

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Professor of Behavioural Medicine



The role of technology in the self-management of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) among children and young people is not well understood. Interventions should aim to improve key diabetes self-management behaviours (self-management of blood glucose, insulin administration, physical activity and dietary behaviours) and prerequisites (psychological outcomes and HbA1c) highlighted in the UK guidelines of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for management of T1DM. The purpose was to identify evidence to assess the effectiveness of technological tools in promoting aspects of these guidelines amongst children and young people.


A systematic review of English language articles was conducted using the following databases: Web of Science, PubMed, Scopus, NUSearch, SAGE Journals, SpringerLink, Google Scholar, Science Direct, Sport Discus, Embase, Psychinfo and Cochrane Trials. Search terms included paediatric, type one diabetes, technology, intervention and various synonyms. Included studies examined interventions which supplemented usual care with a health care strategy primarily delivered through a technology-based medium (e.g. mobile phone, website, activity monitor) with the aim of engaging children and young people with T1DM directly in their diabetes healthcare. Studies did not need to include a comparator condition and could be randomised, non-randomised or cohort studies but not single-case studies.


Of 30 included studies (21 RCTs), the majority measured self-monitoring of blood glucose monitoring (SMBG) frequency, clinical indicators of diabetes self-management (e.g. HbA1c) and/or psychological or cognitive outcomes. The most positive findings were associated with technology-based health interventions targeting SMBG as a behavioural outcome, with some benefits found for clinical and/or psychological diabetes self-management outcomes. Technological interventions were well accepted by children and young people. For the majority of included outcomes, clinical relevance was deemed to be little or none.


More research is required to assess which elements of interventions are most likely to produce beneficial behavioural outcomes. To produce clinically relevant outcomes, interventions may need to be delivered for at least 1 year and should consider targeting individuals with poorly managed diabetes. It is not possible to determine the impact of technology-based interventions on insulin administration, dietary habits and/or physical activity behaviour due to lack of evidence.


Knox, E. C. L., Quirk, H., Glazebrook, C., Randell, T., & Blake, H. (2019). Impact of technology-based interventions for children and young people with type 1 diabetes on key diabetes self-management behaviours and prerequisites: a systematic review. BMC Endocrine Disorders, 19(1), 1-14.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 21, 2018
Online Publication Date Jan 10, 2019
Publication Date Jan 10, 2019
Deposit Date Jan 11, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jan 11, 2019
Journal BMC Endocrine Disorders
Electronic ISSN 1472-6823
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 1
Article Number 7
Pages 1-14
Keywords Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism; General Medicine
Public URL
Publisher URL


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