Is Virtual Health Coaching an Alternative Intervention in Managing Type 2 Diabetes Management During the COVID-19 Pandemic? A Scoping Review

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Nuurhidayat Jafar, M.N, Dr. Emy Huriyati, Haryani, Ph.D, Lutfan Lazuardi, Ph.D, Andina Setyawati, M.N


Background: Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) experience difficulties in continuing treatment and receiving care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using digital technology for diabetes management is an appropriate innovation that needs to be developed. Education with a virtual health coaching (VHC) approach might provide positive outcomes, reduce costs and the risk of infection transmission.

Aims: This review aimed to provide evidence-base of virtual health coaching characteristics from selected studies regarding the possibility of implementing VHC during the pandemic.

Methods: We conducted scoping review following six steps of framework developed by Arksey & O’Malley. Nine articles that met the eligible criteria were retrieved from four electronic databases including PubMed, ProQuest, Science Direct and Scopus.

Results: There were eight studies using smartphone (android) applications and one study using a website for VHC. The studies mostly originated from the USA (n = 5) and were conducted between 2014-2020. There were 7 themes summarized: 1) program label, 2) program features, 3) implementation duration, 4) schedule of coaching, 5) implementation design, 6) delivered topics, and 7) coach competencies. The majority category of implementation duration was ≤ 6 months (n = 6). Meanwhile, HbA1C (n=7), body weight/BMI/hip circumference (n=4) and awareness (n=4) were the most common outcomes observed.

Conclusions: We conclude that VHC could decrease HbA1C and blood glucose as well as improve physical and psychological aspects of T2DM patients through various program applications, features, schedules, and coaching techniques within varying duration ranging from three months to a year. Five topics were integrated in these VHCs delivered by coaches who has twelve different competencies. Determining that VHCs’ with various characteristics could improve positive outcomes in T2DM patients and direct meeting is not a VHC concept, we supposed that VHC is an applicable program for T2DM patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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