Diabetes mellitus increases the risk of adverse maternal and fetal outcomes. Preconception care is vital to minimise complications, however, preconception care service provision is hindered by inadequate knowledge, resources and care fragmentation. Mobile health technology, particularly smartphone apps, could improve preconception care and pregnancy outcomes for women with diabetes. The aim of this study is to co-create a preconception and diabetes information app with healthcare professionals and women with diabetes and explore the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary effects of the app. A mixed-methods study design employing questionnaires and semi-structured interviews was used to assess preliminary outcome estimates (preconception care knowledge, attitudes and behaviours), and user acceptability. Data analysis included thematic analysis, descriptive statistics and non-parametric tests. Improvements were recorded in knowledge and attitudes to preconception care and patient activation measure following the 3-month app usage. Participants found the app acceptable (satisfaction rating was 72%), useful and informative. The app’s usability and usefulness facilitated usage while manual data input and competing priorities were barriers which participants felt could be overcome via personalisation, automation and use of daily reminders. This is the first study to explore the acceptability and feasibility of a preconception and diabetes information app for women with diabetes. Triangulated data suggest that the app has potential to improve preconception care knowledge, attitudes and behaviours. However, in order for women with DM to realise the full potential of the app intervention, particularly improved maternal and fetal outcomes, further development and evaluation is required.
Journal of Healthcare Informatics Research
preconception care, women, education, diabetes mellitus, technology, smartphone, mobile applications