By: Saif Usman MD
Explaining diabetes to patients is no easy task and most patients don’t really read the lengthy discharge instructions we give them. Easy to understand language and the help of colorful and informative figures and diagrams would likely make this task easier, especially if the patients could take it home and browse through it in more detail at their leisure. We reviewed the Diabetes Atlas 6 to see if it would be able to fill this role and be a good resource for patient education.
The app opens to the title page with the IDF logo and then swiping to the left brings up the table of contents with the various chapters, foreword and introduction, interactive atlas, glossary and FAQ. The app can only be viewed in landscape mode.
Swiping up at the table of contents page brings you to a screen showing how to use the app.
Clicking on any of the tabs takes you into that chapter where swiping down scrolls through the chapter and swiping to the left takes you to the next chapter. Within the chapters every screen has a menu button on the right side which takes you back to the beginning of the chapter or the main home screen which is a great feature and makes navigating the app much easier.
When looking at such a large dataset encompassing worldwide diabetes information, being able to browse and find specific information is key and the app solves this problem in a number of ways that don’t require reading through every single page. The executive summary is a quick and easy way to browse through a compilation of summaries of each chapter with pertinent figures. At the start of each chapter there is also a summary button and key message button which are helpful in getting a quick overview of that specific chapter in either written form (summary) or a figure (key message).
Double tapping anywhere in the app brings up a scrollbar at the bottom of the screen and some buttons on the top left corner for home and bullet point view and on the top right corner to make the entire app scrollable by swiping left and right.
Each chapter is also broken down into multiple descriptive subheadings for easy browsing. The definitions in the app are basic and appear targeted towards a non-clinical audience. The figure below demonstrates diabetes pathophysiology in an easy to review format that is both pleasing to the eye but also full of pertinent information and more easier to remember than a lengthy paragraph explaining the same thing. Patients can review this information themselves or physicians and other diabetic educators can go over the information with the patients.
While the app doesn’t require an internet connection to work, some features, such as the interactive atlas, require an internet connection. The interactive atlas is a world map showing various data by country such as population, diabetes estimates and health expenditure estimates amongst other things. Clicking a country name highlights it on the map and brings up more information about it. Each of the 4 tabs can be made full screen for better viewing.