Health Care Providers’ Utilization of and Perspectives on Mobile Health Technology for Diabetes and Pregnancy Support

Jenise Jackson, Karolina Leziak, Charlotte M. Niznik, Lynn M. Yee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE | Mobile health (mHealth) technology can be an effective tool to deliver behavioral interventions to improve health outcomes for individuals with diabetes. However, there is limited evidence on mHealth for pregnant women managing diabetes or for the role of health care providers (HCPs) in delivering mHealth tools. To prepare for the development of a pregnancy-specific mHealth intervention for diabetes, we sought to understand HCPs’ acceptance, utilization, and design recommendations for how mHealth technology can best be used to support the management of diabetes during pregnancy. METHODS | Focus groups and individual interviews were conducted with clinical HCPs (obstetricians, nurses, diabetes educators, dietitians, and lactation counselors) who care for low-income pregnant women with diabetes. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method. RESULTS |Participants(n = 29) generated five themes and 14 subthemes. Knowledge and acceptance themes included utilization of mobile resources and barriers to HCPs’ adoption. Knowledge of popular pregnancy applications (apps) dominated, while familiarity with and use of diabetes apps varied by profession and proximity to continued education. Technology adoption barriers included lack of credibility, dependence on Internet resources, and reliance on knowledge networks. Design themes addressed user-centered design, responsive and practical education, and clinical integration. Clinicians recommended patient-participatory design, customizable features, data-tracking features, motivational feedback, and bidirectional communication capabilities. CONCLUSION | Although HCPs strongly embraced mHealth tools as an adjunct to obstetric care for women with diabetes, they also expressed limited knowledge and apprehension about patient engagement. HCP recommendations and concerns must critically inform the development of meaningful tools for this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-267
Number of pages11
JournalDiabetes Spectrum
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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