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Abstract

Aims

To identify patient-reported obstacles to self-monitoring of blood glucose among those with Type 2, both insulin users and non-insulin users, and to investigate how obstacles are associated with frequency of self-monitoring and use of self-monitoring data.

Methods

Patients with Type 2 diabetes (= 886, 65% insulin users) who attended a 1-day diabetes education conference in cities across the USA completed a survey on current and recommended self-monitoring of blood glucose frequency, how they used self-monitoring results and perceived obstacles to self-monitoring use. Exploratory factor analysis examined 12 obstacle items to identify underlying factors. Regression analyses examined associations between self-monitoring of blood glucose use and the key obstacle factors identified in the exploratory factor analysis.

Results

Three obstacle factors emerged: Avoidance, Pointlessness and Burden. Avoidance was the only significant independent predictor of self-monitoring frequency (β = −0.23, P < 0.001). Avoidance (β = −0.12, P < 0.01) and Pointlessness (β = −0.15, P < 0.001) independently predicted how often self-monitoring data were shared with healthcare professionals and whether or not data were used to make management adjustments (Avoidance: odds ratio = 0.74, P < 0.001; Pointlessness: odds ratio = 0.75, P < 0.01). Burden was not associated with any of the self-monitoring behavioural measures. Few differences between insulin users and non-insulin users were noted.

Conclusions

Obstacles to self-monitoring of blood glucose use, both practical and emotional, were common. Higher levels of Avoidance and Pointlessness, but not Burden, were associated with less frequent self-monitoring use. Addressing patients' self-monitoring-related emotional concerns (Avoidance and Pointlessness) may be more beneficial in enhancing interest and engagement with self-monitoring of blood glucose than focusing on day-to-day, behavioural issues (Burden).