Assistive technology for older diabetes patients

  • T.J. Verblackt

Student thesis: Master


Diabetes Mellitus is a growing problem in the Netherlands because of the ageing society. Also among citizens of non-European descent and younger people with overweight, the number of diabetes patients increases. Currently, interaction between care giver and patient is low in diabetes care. By increasing the number of contacts and better self monitoring, the number of complications decreases. Assistive technology can be helpful to achieve this. Aim of this study is to provide an onset for tailor made support for older diabetes patients through assistive technology. Tests with 62 diabetes patients have been performed. All subjects were bom before 1960 and lived in Eindhoven and its surroundings. Subjects were asked to (i) transfer glucose data from a glucose meter to a computer, (ii) look at the data analysed by the software and (iii) transfer data to the pc of a care giver. To gain insight in technical barriers for subjects with sufficient computer experience, a control group (n=30) was used. From 5 glucose meters of 5 different brands, one glucose meter was selected with a pilot test (best practice was selected). A questionnaire has been used with questions concerning (i) gender, (ii) age, (iii) diabetes, (iv) computer use, (v) interests in services and (vi) perceived difficulty of software and glucose meter. Significant differences between male and female diabetes patients have been found. Technical barriers concerning the software and the glucose meter are significantly lower for male diabetes patients. Female diabetes patients show more interest in services. When comparing type I and type 11 diabetes patients, it appears type I diabetes patients (i) have more computer experience, (i i) measure more frequently and (iii) show more interest in services. Three age groups have been made and compared to each other. From this analysis it appears that diabetes patients bom between 1950 and 1960 (i) have most computer experience, (ii) have least technical barriers and (iii) show most interest in services. The group of diabetes patients bom between 1930 and 1940 is least willing to pay for the services. Other researches show no significant technical barriers when transferring data from a glucose meter to a computer and from a computer to a care giver. An explanation can be found in the fact that average age in current research is higher than in most other researches and all subjects were observed in a first use situation. When completely eliminating current technical barriers, other problems like privacy matters would still remain. In this research emphasis lay on barriers and interests for patients. Introduction of assistive technology not only influences patients but also other groups like care givers, government and insurance companies. Concluding we can say that for the current generation of assistive technology the different technical barriers should be eliminated first both for men as weil as for women. Current assistive technology is most tailor made for male diabetes patients bom between 1950 and 1960. Because of their higher interest in extra services and longer life span, it will be profitable to make this technology more tailor-made for female diabetes patients.
Date of Award30 Jun 2007
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJ.E.M.H. van Bronswijk (Supervisor 1), H.H.M (Erik) Korsten (Supervisor 2) & B. de Klerk (External coach)

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