Survey: Japanese docs slow to adopt mobile diabetes monitoring

Less than 1 percent of doctors in Japan have used Internet-enabled smartphones for mobile diabetes monitoring of their patients, according to survey results published recently in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. In the survey, older respondents showed a significantly lower intention to use mobile diabetes monitoring than younger respondents, suggesting that the younger the physicians, the more likely they would be to adopt and use mobile diabetes monitoring.

The study defined "mobile diabetes monitoring" as a system of self-monitoring blood glucose in diabetic patients by means of 3G-enabled mobile device. The results were based on a questionnaire survey of 471 physicians in Japan, of which 134 were specialists in internal and gastrointestinal medicine.

According to the authors, most existing studies have focused on patients' usability perceptions with little attention paid to physicians' intentions to adopt mobile technology. Japan was selected for the study because it has one of the highest mobile broadband penetration rates, and is the country with the eighth-largest number of diabetes patients worldwide. Additionally, with the aging of the Japanese population, the healthcare costs associated with chronic diseases is a serious potential burden.

With regard to mobile diabetes monitoring, only 0.8 percent of the respondents actually used mobile diabetes monitoring previously. Although 25.9 percent were aware of its functions but did not use mobile diabetes monitoring, 73.2 percent were not well informed.  Among the major factors affecting mobile diabetes monitoring adoption among Japanese doctors: physicians consider perceived value and net benefits as the most important motivators to use mobile diabetes monitoring. Concerns over privacy and security risk were found to have no significant effects on intention to use mobile diabetes monitoring.

Survey participants indicated that overall quality assessment does affect their intention to use this technology, but only indirectly through perceived value. The survey results also showed, according to the article, that net benefits "seem to be a strong driver in both a direct and indirect manner, implying that physicians may perceive health improvement with ubiquitous control as a true utility by enhancing cost-effective monitoring, and simultaneously recognize it as a way to create value for their clinical practices."

While Japanese physicians have been slow to adopt mobile diabetes monitoring, six hospitals in Japan are treating stroke patients remotely using smartphones and Twitter accounts. The i-Stroke system transfers hospital-generated patient, clinical and imaging information including CT scans, MRI results and CT angiograms from a hospital "stroke server" to a physician's smartphone, which is preloaded with diagnostic-management tools. The consultation occurs via Twitter direct messages, and is seen only by the message recipient.

Meanwhile, mobile technology use overall by U.S. doctors continues to surge, according to the results of the 2nd Annual HIMSS Mobile Technology Survey.

To learn more:
- read the JMIR article