Diabetes technology and the human factor.

A. Liberman, B. Buckingham, M. Phillip

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


When developing new technologies for human use the developer should take into consideration not only the efficacy and safety of the technology but also the desire and capabilities of the potential user. Any chronic disease is a challenge for both the patient and his/her caregivers. This statement is especially true in the case of patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) where adherence to therapy is crucial 24 hours a day 365 days a year. No vacation days are possible for the T1DM patient. It is therefore obvious why any new technology which is developed for helping patients cope with the disease should take into consideration the 'human factor' before, during and after the production process starts. There is no doubt that technology has changed the life of patients with T1DM in the last few decades, but despite the availability of new meters, new syringes, new sophisticated insulin pumps and continuous glucose sensors and communication tools, these technologies have not been well utilised by many patients. It is therefore important to understand why the technology is not always utilised and to find new ways to maximise use and benefits from the technology to as many patients as possible. The present chapter will review papers published in the last year where the patient's ability or willingness was an important factor in the success of the technology. We will try to understand why insulin pumps, glucose sensors and self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) are not used enough or appropriately, whether there is a specific group that finds it more difficult than others to adopt new technologies and what can be done to overcome that issue. For this chapter we chose articles from a Public Medicine review of the literature related to human factors affecting the outcome of studies and of user acceptance of continuous glucose monitoring, insulin infusion pump therapy. We also searched the literature in the field of psychology in order to accurately define the problems that the users of technology are facing (such as adherence, quality of life, motivations, executive functioning etc.) Those articles that had the most important contributions to understanding human factors as well as those highlighting the interface between technology and psychology, were chosen for this review, with emphasis on articles that provide insight into future studies and acceptance of emerging technologies for glycemic control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-90
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Practice, Supplement
Issue number170
StatePublished - Feb 2011


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