Relationships Between Mobile eHealth Literacy, Diabetes Self-care, and Glycemic Outcomes in Taiwanese Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: Cross-sectional Study.

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      Background: Understanding how people with diabetes seek online health information and use health applications is important to ensure these electronic tools are successfully supporting patient self-care. Furthermore, identifying the relationship between patient mobile eHealth literacy (mobile eHL) and diabetes outcomes can have far-reaching utility, for example, in the design of targeted interventions to address mobile eHL limitations. However, only limited studies have explored the impact of mobile eHL in a population with diabetes. Objective: This study aims to present data about online information-seeking behavior and mobile health (mHealth) app usage, investigate the factors related to mobile eHL in Taiwanese patients with type 2 diabetes, and flesh out the relationship between eHealth literacy (eHL), mobile health literacy (mHL), and health outcomes. Methods: Subjects were recruited from January 2017 to December 2017 in the outpatient departments of 3 hospitals in Taiwan. A total of 249 Taiwanese patients with diabetes voluntarily completed a cross-sectional survey assessing sociodemographic characteristics; diabetes status; knowledge and skills of computers, the internet, and mobile apps; mobile eHL; and patient outcomes (self-care behaviors, self-rated health, HbA1c). Structural equation modeling analyses examined the model fit of mobile eHL scores and the interrelationships between latent constructs and observable variables. Results: Of the 249 patients with diabetes, 67% (164/249) reported they had searched for online diabetes information. The participants with smartphones had owned them for an average of 6.5 years and used them for an average of 4.5 (SD 3.81) hours per day. Only 1.6% (4/249) of the patients used health apps. Some demographic factors affecting mobile eHL included age, education, and duration of type 2 diabetes. Mobile eHL was related to self-care behaviors as well as knowledge and skills of computers, the internet, and mobile technology, but only had a weak, indirect effect on self-rated health. The final model had adequate goodness-of-fit indexes: chi-square (83)=149.572, P <.001; comparative fit index (CFI)=0.925; root mean square of approximation (RMSEA)=0.057 (90% CI 004-006); chi-square/ df =1.082. Mobile eHL had a weak, indirect effect on self-rated health through the variables of knowledge with skills. Conclusions: Our study reveals that although people with diabetes who rated their health conditions as moderate were confident in using mobile eHealth and technology, few adopted these tools in their daily lives. The study found that mobile eHL had a direct effect on self-care behavior as well as knowledge and skills of computers, the internet, and mobile technology, and had an indirect effect on health outcomes (glycemic control and self-rated health status). Information about this population's experiences and the role mobile eHL plays in them can spur necessary mobile eHealth patient education. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 2021;9(2):e18404 doi:10.2196/18404 [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]