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How Do Smart Device Apps for Diabetes Self-Management Correspond with Theoretical Indicators of Empowerment? An Analysis of App Features

  • Nicola Brew-Sam (a1) and Arul Chib (a2)
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.



Smart device apps for diabetes have the potential to support patients in their daily disease management. However, uncertainty exists regarding their suitability for empowering patients to improve self-management behaviors. This paper addresses a general research gap regarding theoretically based examinations of empowerment in diabetes research, by examining how diabetes app features correspond with conceptual indicators of empowerment.


We examined features of 121 apps for diabetes self-management available in Singapore, with the second highest proportion of diabetes among developed nations, for psychological empowerment (feeling of empowerment) and for behavioral empowerment (social support).


Diabetes apps studied offered a narrow range of features, with limited feature-sets corresponding to indicators of empowerment. Customization as a strategy to improve perceived relevance of diabetes self-management as an indicator of psychological empowerment was especially limited. Moreover, there was a lack of features supporting patients' communication with healthcare professionals and within their private social networks.


Mobile apps for diabetes self-management failed to provide relevant features for empowering patients. Specific practical recommendations target improved adoption, sustained usage, and effectiveness of diabetes self-management apps.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Arul Indrasen Chib, E-mail:


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The study was funded by the Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) research grant M4081081.



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How Do Smart Device Apps for Diabetes Self-Management Correspond with Theoretical Indicators of Empowerment? An Analysis of App Features

  • Nicola Brew-Sam (a1) and Arul Chib (a2)
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.


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