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Research Project

mHealth for Diabetes Adherence Support

Principal Investigator
Gerber, Ben
Start Date
End Date


Many African-Americans and Latinos with diabetes do not achieve recommended diabetes goals placing them at high risk for complications. Team-based models of care can help in reaching goals of therapy. Additionally, mobile health (mHealth) technologies can further improve outcomes among those more difficult to reach. This study will evaluate the impact of a team-based, mHealth intervention designed to improve medication adherence, healthy eating, and physical activity behaviors. We will compare this mHealth approach with usual care.

Clinical pharmacists and health coaches (HC) will deliver our proposed team-based intervention. mHealth delivery includes mobile phone text messaging, secure videoconferencing, and HC home visits. Pharmacists will focus on medication reconciliation and adherence. Health coaches will help identify psychosocial and environmental challenges to adherence in a culturally-sensitive manner. Together, they can assist in goal-setting, problem-solving, negotiation of competing priorities, and provide social support leveraging mHealth technologies.

Preliminary data from our research group supports the role of health coaches partnering with clinicbased pharmacists in improving diabetes outcomes in minorities. In the proposed mHealth intervention, patientpharmacist videoconferencing will eliminate the need for in-person visits with a pharmacist, which is impractical for many low-income patients. In addition, our pilot work suggests that text messaging is a preferable means of communication and may facilitate more frequent contact with patients.

We propose a randomized, controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of an mHealth diabetes adherence support intervention delivered by clinical pharmacists and health coaches. We will randomize 220 patients through UI Health to either: (1) mHealth diabetes adherence support through clinical pharmacists and health coaches; or (2) usual care. After one year, patients completing the mHealth intervention will be monitored for an additional year while the usual care group receives the mHealth approach. Outcomes include medication adherence, hemoglobin A1c, blood pressure, and LDL-cholesterol levels. The specific aims include: (1) evaluate the effectiveness of an mHealth diabetes adherence support intervention delivered by clinical pharmacists and health coaches to African-American and Latino adults with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes; (2) evaluate the maintenance of improved diabetes behaviors as well as clinical outcomes one year after completing the intervention; (3) evaluate the cost and cost-effectiveness of mHealth diabetes adherence support compared to usual care; and (4) evaluate the reach, adoption, and implementation of mHealth diabetes adherence support based on the RE-AIM framework.

Funding Source

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (Grant No. R01DK108141)

Total Award


Related Publication(s)

Chiu RG, Xia Y, Sharp LK, Gerber BS. Do community health workers affect non-urgent, ambulatory healthcare utilization among low-income, minority patients with diabetes?. J Clin Transl Endocrinol. 2019;16:100184. Published 2019 Feb 7. doi:10.1016/j.jcte.2019.100184.

Biggers A, Sharp LK, Nimitphong H, et al. Relationship between depression, sleep quality, and hypoglycemia among persons with type 2 diabetes. J Clin Transl Endocrinol. 2019;15:62–64. Published 2019 Jan 2. doi:10.1016/j.jcte.2018.12.007.

Bellfield EJ, Sharp LK, Xia Y, Gerber BS. Use of a Mobile App to Facilitate Blood Glucose Monitoring in Adolescents With Type 1 Diabetes: Single-Subject Nonrandomized Clinical Trial. JMIR Diabetes. 2018;3(1):e3. Published 2018 Feb 7. doi:10.2196/diabetes.8357.

Sharp LK, Tilton JJ, Touchette DR, et al. Community Health Workers Supporting Clinical Pharmacists in Diabetes Management: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pharmacotherapy. 2018;38(1):58–68. doi:10.1002/phar.2058.