Researchers developing smartphone app to educate people in India about diabetes

A research team has been awarded a grant to develop a mobile application aimed at raising awareness about diabetes for people in India who are most at risk for developing the disease.

The United States-India Educational Foundation has awarded a 21st Century Knowledge Initiative grant to a team of researchers and physicians from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and Bangalore Baptist Hospital in Bengaluru, India.

According to the research team, India has one of the lowest life expectancy rates in southeast Asia, “largely attributed” to diseases like diabetes. With the grant, researchers plan to create a culturally-appropriate app that features interactive 3D animated video and medical content to help educate people about their risk of developing diabetes.

The app will be used by health workers during visits with people in rural villages and urban slums. The app will also serve as a data collection tool to help researchers determine if the video feature is effective. The app’s effectiveness will later be tested against other standard educational resources previously used.

“There is a need for culturally appropriate health education materials in India,” Baylor assistant professor Shelby Garner, PhD, RN, said in a statement. “Our early research showed that technology, such as smartphones and internet accessibility, are widely available in India among health providers, but most technological educational resources were developed in the West and do not effectively translate to the Indian context.”