Commentary: Web-based health applications provide useful and cost-effective tools; however, they should include key clinical variables and incorporate a coding or classification system
de Lusignan S.
The challenges that face the authors are for them to: • justify the data items in the dataset used compared with other published data sets, or add items to follow recommended clinical practice • map the contents of their data set to an established and freely available coding or classification system, so that comparisons of the effectiveness of their program with others can be made • a before and after or comparative study might provide useful insight into the effectiveness of this application. The authors should consider looking at the control of risk factors before and after the implementation of the application. Alternatively they could measure surrogate markets of diabetic care (e.g. numbers with HBA1c <7) using this system and compare the control achieved with this system compared with others. Ideally moving on to conduct a randomised controlled trial of its effectiveness. • designing a website that offers more than some currently existing online resources, such as the International Diabetes Federation website. As described, the application is not considered comprehensive enough to help family doctors provide evidence-based care of patients with diabetes, but it provides a good basis for further development. Caveat. This commentary is written based solely on the paper submitted to Informatics in Primary Care, comments of reviewers, plus additional supporting material. The online or other functioning version of this application has not been seen or tested.