Barriers to and Facilitators of Using eHealth to Support Gestational Diabetes Mellitus Self-management: Systematic Literature Review of Perceptions of Health Care Professionals and Women With Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

Ladan Safiee, Daniel John Rough (Lead / Corresponding author), Heather Whitford

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is one of the most common medical complications during pregnancy. eHealth technologies are proving to be successful in supporting the self-management of medical conditions. Digital technologies have the potential to improve GDM self-management.

Objective: The primary objective of this systematic literature review was to identify the views of health professionals (HPs) and women with GDM regarding the use of eHealth for GDM self-management. The secondary objective was to investigate the usability and user satisfaction levels when using these technologies.

Methods: Following the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) approach, the search included primary papers in English on the evaluation of technology to support self-management of GDM from January 2008 to September 2021 using MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase, ACM, and IEEE databases. The lists of references from previous systematic literature reviews, which were related to technology and GDM, were also examined for primary studies. Papers with qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methodologies were included and evaluated. The selected papers were assessed for quality using the Cochrane Collaboration tool, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence clinical guidelines, Critical Appraisal Skills Programme Qualitative Checklist, and McGill University Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. NVivo (QSR International) was used to extract qualitative data, which were subjected to thematic analysis. Narrative synthesis was used to analyze the quantitative data.

Results: A total of 26 papers were included in the review. Of these, 19% (5/26) of studies used quantitative research methodologies, 19% (5/26) used qualitative methods, and 62% (16/26) used mixed methods. In all, 4 themes were identified from the qualitative data: the benefits of using technology, engagement with people via technology, the usability of technology, and discouragement factors for the use of technology. The thematic analysis revealed a vast scope of challenges and facilitators in the use of GDM self-management systems. The challenges included usability aspects of the system, technical problems, data privacy, lack of emotional support, the accuracy of reported data, and adoption of the system by HPs. Convenience, improved GDM self-management, peer support, increased motivation, increased independence, and consistent monitoring were facilitators to use these technologies. Quantitative data showed that there is potential for improving the usability of the GDM self-management systems. It also showed that convenience, usefulness, increasing motivation for GDM self-management, helping with GDM self-management, and being monitored by HPs were facilitators to use the GDM self-management systems.

Conclusions: This novel systematic literature review shows that HPs and women with GDM encountered some challenges in using GDM self-management systems. The usability of GDM systems was the primary challenge derived from qualitative and quantitative results, with convenience, consistent monitoring, and optimization of GDM self-management emerging as important facilitators.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere39689
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2022


  • Pregnancy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Diabetes, Gestational/therapy
  • Health Personnel
  • Telemedicine
  • Self-Management
  • GDM
  • gestational diabetes
  • gestational diabetes mellitus
  • self-management
  • eHealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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