Journal of medical Internet research 2017 08 2219(8) e287 doi 10.2196/jmir.6639
Raising a child with type 1 diabetes (T1D) means combining the demands of the disease management with everyday parenting, which is associated with increased levels of distress. A Web-based patient portal, Sugarsquare, was developed to support parents, by providing online parent-professional communication, online peer support and online disease information.
The first aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of conducting a multicenter, randomized controlled trial in Dutch parents of a child with T1D. The second aim was to assess the feasibility of implementing Sugarsquare in clinical practice.
The parents of 105 children (N=105) with T1D below the age of 13 participated in a 6-month multicenter randomized controlled feasibility trial. They were randomly assigned to an experimental (n=54, usual care and Sugarsquare) or a control group (n=51, usual care). Attrition rates and user statistics were gathered to evaluate feasibility of the trial and implementation. To determine potential efficacy, the parenting stress index (PSI-SF) was assessed at baseline (T0) and after 6 months (T1).
Of a potential population of parents of 445 children, 189 were willing to participate (enrollment refusal=57.5%, n=256), 142 filled in the baseline questionnaire (baseline attrition rate=25%, n=47), and 105 also filled in the questionnaire at T1 (post randomization attrition rate during follow-up=26%, n=32). As such, 24% of the potential population participated. Analysis in the experimental group (n=54) revealed a total of 32 (59%) unique users, divided into 12 (38%) frequent users, 9 (28%) incidental users, and 11 (34%) low-frequent users. Of the total of 44 professionals, 34 (77%) logged in, and 32 (73%) logged in repeatedly. Analysis of the user statistics in the experimental group further showed high practicability and integration in all users, moderate acceptability and demand in parents, and high acceptability and demand in health care professionals. Baseline parenting stress index scores were related to the parents’ frequency of logging on (ρ=.282, P=.03) and page-views (ρ=.304, P=.01). No significant differences in change in parenting stress between experimental and control group were found (F3,101=.49, P=.49).
The trial can be considered feasible, considering the average enrollment refusal rate, baseline attrition rate and postrandomization attrition rate, compared to other eHealth studies, although lower than hypothesized. Implementing Sugarsquare in clinical practice was partly feasible, given moderate demand and acceptability in parent users and lack of potential efficacy. Parents who reported higher levels of parenting stress used Sugarsquare more often than other parents, although Sugarsquare did not reduce parenting stress. These results indicate that Web-based interventions are a suitable way of providing parents of children with T1D with additional support. Future studies should determine how Sugarsquare could reduce parenting stress, for instance by adding targeted interventions. Factors potentially contributing to successful implementation are suggested.
Nederlands Trial Register Number: NTR3643; http://www.trialregister.nl/trialreg/admin/rctview.asp?TC=3643 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6qihOVCi6).