Research / Precision medicine and personalised prevention


Evaluating a digital health programme for self-management of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes

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Project Status: Completed Funding: $1,589,033 Timeframe: Mar 2017 – Feb 2020


What we investigated

Take | Issue

One quarter of New Zealand’s adult population is thought to have prediabetes, a condition which – with effective intervention – can be reversed before it develops into Type 2 diabetes.

People of all ages are now living more of their lives online using digital devices, not only for entertainment but also as essential tools for life.

Health service providers are looking to the digital world to see if it can help solve health problems, but there is limited evidence to show that digital health interventions are effective.

Whāinga | Aim

This project aimed to investigate whether digital technology could improve outcomes for people with prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes – in particular Māori and Pacific populations who suffer from poorer outcomes for long-term conditions than other groups.

Huarahi I Whāia | Approach

BetaMe is an innovative digital health programme, delivered via web and mobile-based platforms, to support prevention and self-management of prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes through behaviour change.

The research team ran a group of studies, including a randomised controlled trial, to assess the clinical and cost effectiveness of BetaMe in reversing prediabetes and improving self- management of diabetes, compared with usual care.


This project was funded by:

The Ministry of Health, Health Research Council of New Zealand, and Healthier Lives National Science Challenge, as part of the Long-Term Conditions Partnership.


Research Findings Brief

This study evaluated BetaMe/Melon, a digital health programme, and found that in its current form it was not clinically effective for controlling diabetes.

This is an important finding. Despite their promise, digital self-management programmes may not all be as useful as once thought in preventing and controlling long-term health conditions such as diabetes.

Robust evaluation should be undertaken before digital health programmes are purchased and rolled out.

Project Team

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