Construction of a Smartphone-based Support System for Diabetic Patients at Home
In recent years, the number of patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) has been increasing. New International Diabetes Federation (IDF) data reveals the diabetes epidemic continues to escalate. A 2015 survey by the IDF estimated 7.2 million people with DM in Japan. DM causes various complications, such as diabetic nephropathy, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic neuropathy, cerebrovascular disease, ischemic heart disease, and arteriosclerosis obliterans, because secretion of insulin that controls blood sugar level does not function normally. Therefore, the quality of life is reduced. For prevention of various complications, the patient should be managed not only by a specialist but also by him- or herself on a daily basis to better control blood sugar levels. However, there has not been an effective method for patients to manage their blood sugar levels at home. In this study, we developed a smartphone-based support system for patients with diabetes at home. The system is composed of a smartphone used by the patient, a server installed at a medical institution, and a personal computer used by a physician. Using this system, the patient can accumulate various biological data and send them to the medical institution; the doctor can confirm the data sent and instruct the patient at home via e-mail. An Android smartphone was selected as a terminal, and the system was created using XML so that the data could be read with a web browser in any environment. From the results of the questionnaire survey into volunteers including healthcare workers, our system received a high evaluation on its function. Through some further improvements, practical application of this system enables information sharing between physicians and patients with diabetes at home, and it is expected that better support will be possible not only for patients but also for their families and caregivers.