Mutual Involvement in Families With Type 2 Diabetes Through Web-Based Health Care Solutions: Quantitative Survey Study of Family Preferences, Challenges, and Potentials

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

BACKGROUND: Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a prevalent chronic disease that affects not just patients but entire families. Both the patient and the rest of the family may benefit from gaining knowledge about the disease and from supportive interfamilial interaction. The Internet is becoming a widely-used resource for health information, so a Web-based solution could potentially promote awareness and knowledge on how to manage T2D as a family, while also providing support for the family.

OBJECTIVE: We aim to assess the usage of online diabetes information by patients with T2D and their relatives, and explore the families' needs and preferences regarding online information on diabetes.

METHODS: A quantitative self-reported questionnaire survey was performed with Danish families that had at least one family member diagnosed with T2D. The survey consisted of 36 closed questions on demographics, usage of the Internet, preferences in the source of information, interest in online information on six problem domains within family life related to T2D, preferences towards the delivery format of online information, and peer-to-peer communication. Two open-ended questions were also included to elicit any additional comments or suggestions about improving online information on T2D regarding family life.

RESULTS: Fifty participants from 22 families with T2D answered the questionnaire individually. Relatives (25/28, 89%) and patients (22/22, 100%) indicated that information on T2D is relevant for them, while indicating that the Internet is the first or second preferred source when in need of information on T2D (25/28, 89% vs 21/22, 95%). Only a minority of the participants indicated that they had searched the Internet to gain knowledge on T2D regarding family life (9/28, 32% vs 10/22, 46%). Also, patients were more likely to have used the Internet to gain information on T2D (P=.027). Both groups indicated a preference for watching videos or reading about T2D in relation to family life while a minority of the participants indicated an interest in peer-to-peer communication. Regarding the six problem domains, the domains Support, Knowledge, and Everyday Life were slightly more popular. These three domains were considered interesting by at least 79% (22/28) and 73% (16/22) of the relatives and patients respectively, while the domains Communication, Worries, and Roles were considered interesting by at least 46% (20/28) and 50% (11/22).

CONCLUSIONS: Despite an interest in online information on T2D, there appears to be an unsatisfied need for more supportive online information on T2D aimed at Danish families with T2D. Based on family preferences, online information should focus on the six problem domains and be presented through text and videos by health care practitioners and peers. Peer-to-peer communication elements may be beneficial, but are only expected to be used by a very limited number of families.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere23
JournalJMIR Diabetes
Issue number2
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2017

ID: 211808145