Revolutionizing Diabetes Education in Pediatric Populations: XR Modules for Increased Accessibility and Management
by Jasmin Joshi
Coauthors: Pria Chawla, B.S. Health Sciences 2025, Chapman University (Orange, CA); MI4 Intern 2019, MI4 Intern 2022 Ria Chawla, B.S. Health Sciences 2025, Chapman University (Orange, CA); MI4 Intern 2019, MI4 Intern 2022 Jasmin Joshi, B.A. Neuroscience 2023, Claremont Mckenna College (Claremont, CA); MI4 Intern 2021, MI4 Lead Intern 2022 Bailey Woinarowicz, B.A. Political Science 2024, Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles, CA); MI4 Intern 2022; Member of iCAN Young Adults EonReality, Irvine CA
By 2050, the incidence of youth with type I diabetes will triple and type II diabetes will quadruple; as such, diabetes educators and specialists will play an increasingly important role in disseminating information about care and prevention (ADCES). Culturally competent diabetes education along with mental health care has been shown to optimize effective diabetes management (Chaudhary et al., 2015). Several meta-analyses conducted by researchers showed improved glycemic control, reduced healthcare costs, and enhanced mental well-being as outcomes associated with increased patient education (Nazar et al., 2015). New modalities like Extended Reality (XR) can effectively address challenges, including knowledge gaps, access to care, and compliance through easier accessibility and active engagement.
Utilizing a user-centered approach in XR puts the patient at the forefront of the learning process with technology’s assistance. XR technology allows for personalized learning as the user actively engages in skills such as problem-solving in an interactive environment (Logeswaran et al., 2021). One study found a higher perceived knowledge gain with the utilization of augmented reality (AR) with 67% of perceived knowledge compared to 50% without AR (Urlings et al., 2022). Diabetes care involves a complex treatment regimen, resulting in significantly low medicine adherence and suboptimal management (Adu et al., 2019). Moreover, the lower socioeconomic population faces challenges in accessing regular checkups, making it harder to engage in diabetes prevention and receive necessary care. Low income and educational status are strongly associated with increased severity of hypoglycemic events (Berkowitz et al., 2014). XR can help mitigate the impact by educating pediatric patients on how to properly manage their care.
The team interacted with approximately 36 patients and their families in the pediatric diabetes clinic. Patients frequently struggled with carb counting, insulin dosage management, blood glucose monitoring, and diabetes-related well-being, with over half of patients mentioning burnout. About one-fourth of pediatric patients expressed interest in learning more about the pathology of diabetes, including how insulin works and why their bodies stopped creating insulin. Consequently, our team created five modules with different focused themes, including diabetes overview, managing insulin and blood glucose, diet, and mental health.
The use of XR technology for patient education is crucial for increasing accessibility and convenience while incorporating the psychosocial needs of vulnerable pediatric patients. The multi-lingual XR modules, easily accessed by QR codes, contain interactive assets, visually stimulating educational videos, quizzes, pediatric-centered resources, and messages from healthcare professionals. The limited time available for healthcare providers to convey complex information to families contributes to an ongoing educational gap, which impedes the effectiveness of treatment. Our XR modules enable patients and members of their households to access information on demand, anytime and anywhere when needed, allowing the child to receive holistic support from their social group. By creating a more centralized experience that is tailored to a pediatric level of understanding, patients are provided with a comprehensible toolkit. Therefore, these modules offer a technological approach to delivering engaging vehicles of patient education that are specifically designed for pediatric patients to better manage their diabetes.