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OBJECTIVES - 1) describe and determine the feasibility of using cell-phone-based ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to measure blood glucose monitoring and insulin administration in adolescent Type 1 diabetes, 2) relate EMA to traditional self-report and glycemic control, and 3) identify patterns of adherence by time of day and over time using EMA.
METHOD - Adolescents with Type 1 diabetes (n = 96) completed baseline measures of cell phone use and adherence. Glycemic control (measured by levels of HbA1c) was obtained from medical records. A subgroup of adolescents (n = 50) completed 10 days of EMA to assess blood glucose monitoring frequency, timing of glucose monitoring, insulin administration, and insulin dosing. One third of adolescents were not allowed to use their cell phones for diabetes at school. Parental restrictions on cell phone use at home were not prevalent.
RESULTS - The EMA response rate (59%) remained stable over the 10-day calling period. Morning time was associated with worse monitoring and insulin administration, accounting for 59-74% of missed self-care tasks. EMA-reported missed glucose checks and missed insulin doses were correlated to traditional self-report data, but not to HbA1c levels. Trajectory analyses identified two subgroups: one with consistently adequate adherence, and one with more variable, and worse, adherence. The latter adherence style showed worse glycemic control.
CONCLUSION - Mobile phones provide a feasible method to measure glucose monitoring and insulin administration in adolescents, given a limited assessment duration. The method provided novel insights regarding patterns of adherence and should be explored in clinical settings for targeting or tailoring interventions.