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Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose: The Patient’s Perspective

Incorporating blood glucose testing into a diabetic life may not be as easy as it seems…

Diabetes impacts over 300 million people in the world today. A great way to manage diabetes is through self-monitoring of blood glucose levels (SMBG). There are limitations and barriers to SMBG which ultimately affect outcomes related to adherence of medications.

Researchers aimed was to understand patient perspectives on SMBG within a self-regulation framework and increase patient SMG practices and identify barriers to SMBG. The study outcomes were measured by the Personal Diabetes Questionnaire (PDQ). PDQ is a brief, structured self-report measure of patient-centered diabetes-related self-management activities. PDQ scoring is based on the behavioral areas of diabetes care. The test used to evaluate the results were the ANOVA two and three-way test, t-test, and Chi-squared test.

The study utilized a cross-sectional design with 589 patients recruited by clinic staff during a regular clinic visit. The results showed that 83.4% of the sample size reported their blood glucose as “very poor control”, or did not know (p< 0.001). Approximately 50% of the population left the SMBG frequency portion of the survey blank. Only 296 patients responded to that portion of the survey. In those that answered that portion, 46.8% (n=203) stated SMBG occurs one to two times per week. A large sample (69.1%) of the patients did not identify any barriers to SMBG. The patients who responded yes to “I have a target range for my blood glucose” had a lower A1C levels (M=7.96 (1.82) in comparison to others who responded “No, I do not have a target range.”

Researchers concluded that the study revealed practical barriers to blood glucose testing and integration of testing in the lives of patients. The main outcome of this study was to find out the perspective of patients of SMBG in a clinical setting. The study suggests that patients are having a difficult time incorporating SMBG in their lives. Many patients are not even sure of their target glucose goal which diminishes their motivation of SMBG. More education is need to promote best practice for SMBG.

Practice Pearls:

  • Incorporating self-monitoring of blood glucose can be very difficult and it’s very important to educate patients about best practices in self-monitoring of blood glucose.
  • Large amounts of patients reported their blood glucose as being “very poor control” and this can be modified through routine blood glucose checks.
  • Patients should perform routine testing to increase the probability of a decrease in A1C levels.

Ward JE, Stetson BA, Mokshagundam SP. Patient perspectives on self-monitoring of blood glucose: perceived recommendations, behaviors and barriers in a clinic sample of adults with type 2 diabetes. J Diabetes Metab Disord. 2015;14:43.