• complementary and alternative medicine;
  • diabetes;
  • interactive multimedia;
  • self-care;
  • traditional Chinese medicine

ABSTRACT Objective: Given the increased popularity of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), this study aimed to evaluate the effects of interactive media on self-directed learning in patients' knowledge of diabetes and related CAM/TCM strategies, the ability to control blood sugar levels, and self-care in people with diabetes.

Design: An experimental study design was used. The experimental group received patient education through interactive multimedia about diabetes for 3 months, while the control group received a routine 3-month patient education.

Sample: On completion, 60 subjects from Taiwan were evaluated—30 in an experimental group and 30 in a control group.

Measurements: Data were collected from both groups at baseline and at the completion of the patient education. The findings were then compared to evaluate the effects of the intervention on the subjects' knowledge of diabetes, blood sugar control, and self-care.

Results: The experimental group showed greater improvement in understanding diabetes than the control (t=3.29, p<.001). There was no significant difference in control of blood sugar levels (t=−1.72, p=.10) and self-care (F=1.03, p=.32).

Conclusions: The use of an interactive multimedia device to intervene in diabetes self-care was effective only in raising the subjects' knowledge about the disease. Additionally, the subjects may need more time to implement more effective blood sugar control and self-care activities after receiving instruction.