Nurse coaching and mobile health compared with usual care to improve diabetes self-efficacy for persons with type 2 diabetes: Randomized controlled trial

Heather M. Young, Sheridan Miyamoto, Madan Dharmar, Yajarayma Tang-Feldman

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53 Scopus citations


Background: Type 2 diabetes is a growing public health problem amenable to prevention and health promotion. As healthy behaviors have an impact on disease outcomes, approaches to support and sustain diabetes self-management are vital. Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a nurse coaching program using motivational interviewing paired with mobile health (mHealth) technology on diabetes self-efficacy and self-management for persons with type 2 diabetes. Methods: This randomized controlled trial compared usual care with an intervention that entailed nurse health coaching and mHealth technology to track patient-generated health data and integrate these data into an electronic health record. The inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) enrolled at 1 of 3 primary care clinics, (2) aged 18 years or above, (3) living with type 2 diabetes, and (4) English-speaking. We collected outcome measures at baseline, 3 months, and 9 months. The primary outcome was diabetes self-efficacy; secondary outcomes were depressive symptoms, perceived stress, physical functioning, and emotional distress and anxiety. Linear regression mixed modeling estimated the population trends and individual differences in change. Results: We enrolled 319 participants; 287 participants completed the study (155 control and 132 intervention). The participants in the intervention group had significant improvements in diabetes self-efficacy (Diabetes Empowerment Scale, 0.34; 95% CI -0.15,0.53; P<.01) and a decrease in depressive symptoms compared with usual care at 3 months (Patient Health Questionnaire-9; 0.89; 95% CI 0.01-1.77; P=.05), with no differences in the other outcomes. The differences in self-efficacy and depression scores between the 2 arms at 9 months were not sustained. The participants in the intervention group demonstrated a significant increase in physical activity (from 23,770 steps per week to 39,167 steps per week at 3 months and 32,601 per week at 9 months). Conclusions: We demonstrated the short-term effectiveness of this intervention; however, by 9 months, although physical activity remained above the baseline, the improvements in self-efficacy were not sustained. Further research should evaluate the minimum dose of coaching required to continue progress after active intervention and the potential of technology to provide effective ongoing automated reinforcement for behavior change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere16665
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Informatics


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