Research has found that mobile phones could be used in poorer countries to help people suffering from diabetes to better manage their condition. The study, by the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System and University of Michigan in the United States, recommended that phone technology should become a key part of how low-income patients around the world control their diabetes and other chronic diseases .
The research, which was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, involved diabetes patients in a semi-rural part of Honduras who received weekly, automated, interactive mobile phone calls. They chose this part of the developing world as most people have access to mobile phones there, as well as cheap internet -based phone calls.
The findings showed that the scheme was successful in helping the patients improve the management of their diabetes and overall general health. The researchers found a clinically important improvement in levels of haemoglobin A1C, which is used as a measure of blood sugar control.
John D. Piette, lead author on the six-week study, stated “Telehealth programs have been shown to be very helpful in a variety of contexts, but one of the main limitations for delivering these services in the developing world has been a lack of infrastructure.”
He added “We wanted to demonstrate that it was possible to deliver a high-tech program from U-M to very vulnerable patients with diabetes in Honduras who only have local cell phone service.”

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