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Julia Jacoby is currently writing her PhD at the Nordic Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), while working at Oslo Metropolitan University. She is educated as a product designer in the two converging fields of Health and Design. She is particularly interested in how patients cope with chronic illness over long periods of time and how design can benefit this experience.
Diabetes is a chronic illness with significant health consequences, especially for those who are unable to adhere to the complex treatment regimen. Self-management tasks such as regular medication and insulin use, frequent blood sugar checks, strict diet management, and consistent exercise can be quite challenging. Mobile technologies, specifically mobile applications (apps), present a unique opportunity to help patients improve adherence to these behaviors. The availability of commercial diabetes self-management apps is increasing rapidly, making it difficult for patients and providers to stay informed about app options. A number of reviews have described commercial app technology and use for patients with diabetes. This article provides a systematic review examining the factors considered in trials which engage mobile phone apps for diabetes self-management. The reason for reviewing such trials is to gain an understanding of what developmental considerations were adopted in these trials. This gives insight into what has been considered by other researchers in the past and can give insight into what can be valuable measures to adopt in the future. In addition these insights will be used to compare and contrast with findings from the actual market situation found in the two largest app stores Google Play and iTunes. In order to lay the ground work for an ethnographic fieldwork study in which diabetes patients will be asked about the use of self-tracking diabetes apps in the management of their diabetes in daily life. In order to achieve this a search was implemented across four electronic databases; Medline, Scopus, Social Science Citation Index, and CINALHL. The findings from these databases were reviewed based on the Joanna Briggs Checklist for Systematic Reviews. With the added query of whether Design, Interaction Design or Graphic Design were considered in the trials.