Self-Care Oriented Smartphone Apps for Type 2 Diabetes: A Comparative Analysis

Enhancing Diabetes Self-Care: Top Smartphone Apps for Type 2 Diabetes Management

“Self-Care Oriented Smartphone Apps for Type 2 Diabetes: A Comparative Analysis”


  • Lucija Gosak, University of Maribor
  • Jeroen Ooge, KU Leuven
  • Nino Fijačko, University of Maribor
  • Janja Kamenšek, Lilimed d.o.o.
  • Primož Kocbek, Nika Debeljak, University of Maribor
  • Katrien Verbert, KU Leuven
  • Gregor Štiglic, University of Maribor, University of Edinburgh

Abstract: The paper explores the effectiveness of smartphone apps in supporting self-care for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) patients. By reviewing apps from mobile stores and evaluating them against the AADE7 framework and uMARS scale, the study aims to provide insights into the presence of self-care behavioral functions and overall app quality.

Introduction: T2DM is a chronic disease that requires ongoing self-care to manage blood glucose levels and prevent complications. Smartphone apps have potential in supporting self-care through personalized information and monitoring tools. However, the quality and functionality of these apps vary widely.


  • Search Strategy: The researchers conducted a systematic search in the Google Play Store and iPadian simulator using keywords related to diabetes. Apps were screened based on predefined criteria, such as language, no requirement for registration, and no in-app purchases.
  • Assessment: The AADE7 framework was used to evaluate self-care behavior functions in the apps. The uMARS scale assessed the overall quality in terms of engagement, functionality, aesthetics, and information.


  • App Selection: Out of 2805 initial hits, 12 apps were deemed suitable for evaluation.
  • Self-Care Functions: The apps covered only 51 out of 88 possible behavioral features. Key functions like blood glucose monitoring were common, while others like dietary label interpretation were lacking.
  • Quality Rating: The average quality rating was 3.76 out of 5, with forDiabetes: diabetes self-management app scoring the highest. The lowest ratings were in aesthetics, while engagement scored the highest.


  • Integration of Self-Care Functions: The study highlights gaps in current apps, particularly in integrating comprehensive self-care functions and expert roles.
  • Quality Improvement: Recommendations include enhancing visual design, providing more evidence-based information, and incorporating motivational techniques such as gamification.
  • Future of m-Health: The potential of m-health is significant, but there is a need for better collaboration between patients, healthcare providers, and developers to improve app quality and effectiveness.

Limitations: The study has limitations, including subjectivity in app assessment and restriction to free apps without registration. The review is also based on apps available as of 2021, which may have since evolved.

Conclusion: While smartphone apps for T2DM self-care show promise, they currently fall short in providing a comprehensive range of self-care functions and optimal quality. Addressing these shortcomings can help patients better manage their condition and prevent complications.

Read More

fordiabetes logo