Incorporating PDA use in diabetes self-care: a central Texas Primary Care Research Network (CenTexNet) study.
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INTRODUCTION: We investigated the feasibility of incorporating the use of the personal digital assistant (PDA) in diabetes self-care in primary care. METHODS: Adults with type 2 diabetes whose last measured HbA1c value was 8.0% or greater were recruited from 4 family practice clinics. A trained research assistant provided one-on-one training on the use of a loaned PDA preinstalled with Diabetes Pilot software. RESULTS: Of 550 potential subjects invited for participation, only 98 (17.8%) called to schedule an orientation visit. However, 18 were never contacted when the recruitment goal was reached. Of the remaining 80 respondents, 43 (53.8%) met all study inclusion criteria. Participants' mean age was 55.2 years (SD = 10.1). The majority were female (62.8%) and white (62.8%), 83.7% had at least some college education, and most reported an income of $30,000 to $69,999. The mean baseline HbA1c was 10.0% (SD = 1.5). Major challenges of concern to the practicing family physician included few subjects agreeing to participate even though it was free, subjects who agreed to participate being generally different from those who decided not to participate, some PDAs not returned, and the relatively high cost of the intervention. CONCLUSIONS: Attempts to incorporate PDA use in diabetes self-care may be significantly challenging, although feasible. We identified several challenges and suggest strategies to overcome them.