Aims: To clarify the role of self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) in the self-management of Type 2 diabetes from the patient's perspective, using in-depth interviews with non-insulin-treated adults to investigate how they learned to manage their diabetes effectively and whether SMBG played a significant role in this process. Methods: Individual interviews were conducted with 14 non-insulin-treated adults with Type 2 diabetes who had significantly improved their glycaemic control [64% women; 50% black; 21% Hispanic; mean age 60 years; mean HbA1c concentration 43 mmol/mol (6.1%)]. Interviews were transcribed and analysed by a coding team, applying the concept of illness coherence from the Common Sense Model of Self-Regulation. Results: The majority of participants relied on SMBG to evaluate their self-management efforts. Key themes included: adopting an experimental approach; experiencing 'a-ha' moments; provider-assisted problem-solving; using SMBG and other feedback to evaluate when their efforts were working; and normalizing diabetes-specific behaviour changes as being healthy for everyone. Conclusions: Our qualitative data are consistent with the argument that SMBG, if implemented appropriately with enough education and provider access, can be a powerful tool for non-insulin-treated adults with Type 2 diabetes to monitor their self-management. Establishing sufficient conditions for illness coherence to develop while individuals are learning to use SMBG could increase their sense of personal control in managing a complex and demanding illness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism