The lack of patient engagement and clinical inertia both contribute to suboptimal diabetes care. However, both obstacles are amenable to informatics- and Internet-based interventions. The use of electronic medical records (EMRs) is now established as being useful for improving diabetes care. Intelligent records that integrate computerized decision-support systems are now able to recommend care protocols tailored to risk levels. Web-based personal health record (PHR) systems, shared with healthcare providers, could also provide added value by promoting self-management of the behaviours related to diabetes. These Web-based programmes include patients' access to EMRs, uploading of glucose monitoring results, a glucose diary, secure e-mail with providers, manual or automated feedback on blood glucose readings and other risk factors, an educational website, and an online diary for entering personal information on exercise, diet and medication. The integration of Web-based patients' systems into the EMR used by physicians is the next frontier. In addition, the input from "smartphones" that are able to provide real-time support to patients could contribute to the reorganization of diabetes care. Convincing data on HbA(1c) improvements with such systems are available for type 2 diabetes, but are still equivocal for type 1 diabetes. Obstacles include patients' compliance with the technology, their ergonomic design and the need to reimburse providers for their care. Designing appropriate electronic tools and tailoring them to the conditions in France merits our attention.
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