Designing and Evaluating a Personalized, Human-Centered Dietary Decision Support System for Use Among People With Diabetes in an Indian Setting: Protocol for a Quasi-Experimental Study


Background: Human-centered dietary decision support systems are fundamental to diabetes management, and they address the limitations of existing diet management systems. Objective: The objective of the proposed study is to evaluate the use of an interactive, telephone-linked, personalized, human-centered decision support system for facilitating the delivery of personalized nutrition care for patients with diabetes. Methods: A quasi-experimental trial was conducted between the period of June and December 2018. Study participants were recruited from Community Health Center, Dharamshala, Kangra (urban population), and Model Rural Health Unit, Haroli Block, Una (rural population). Eligible participants included adults aged ≥30 years with controlled or uncontrolled diabetes, those who agreed to participate in the study, those who were available for follow-up interviews, and those with a telephone or computer at home. Diabetic status was determined via a physician's diagnosis. Individuals with mental or physical challenges that affected their ability to use an electronic diet record, those who were not available for a telephone follow-up, and those who were involved in other protocols related to dietary assessments were excluded. The study participants were randomized into the following two groups: the intervention group (telephone-linked dietary decision support system) and the control group (paper-based diet record). Study participants in the intervention group recorded their daily dietary intake by using a telephone-linked, personalized, human-centered dietary decision support system and received personalized feedback and diet education via SMS text messaging. Study participants in the control group were provided with only a paper-based diet record for documenting their daily dietary intake. Follow-up visits were conducted at 3 and 6 months from the baseline in both groups. Differences in diabetes knowledge, attitudes, and practices will be measured across groups. Results: The collection of baseline data from 800 study participants in both the intervention (n=400) and control groups (n=400), which were stratified by urban (control group: n=200; intervention group: n=200) and rural settings (control group: n=200; intervention group: n=200), has been completed. Follow-up data collection for months 3 and 6 is ongoing and is expected to be completed by October 2019. Conclusions: We anticipate that the intervention group will show significant changes in nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and practices; satisfaction with care; and overall diabetes management. We also expect to see urban-rural differences across the groups. The uniqueness of our nutrient data capture process is demonstrated by its cultural and contextually relevant features-diet capture in both English and Hindi, diet conversion into caloric components, sustained diet data collection and participant adherence through telephone-linked care, and auto-generated reminders.

Publication Title

JMIR Research Protocols