Pharmacy Professor John R. White and students Joseph Tran and Rosanna Tran at the College of Pharmacy recently conducted a consumer-style review of smartphone applications for diabetes management that has been published in the professional journal Clinical Diabetes.

Similar to the products reviews found in Consumer Reports magazine – but without the rankings list of best to worst – the students, and the professor whose help they enlisted, reviewed 10 smartphone apps for price and 19 different features such as usability, glucose tracking, carbohydrate tracking, and electronic synchronizing with the patient’s health care provider.

“Apps such as Diabetes Log, which is free in the Apple iTunes store, provide the main essentials for diabetes monitoring, whereas Diabetes Buddy, which costs $6.99, is a more comprehensive app that offers additional features for more detail-oriented users,” the research paper states in its summary and conclusions.

Although they didn’t rank the apps, the LogFrog DB made by Amphistyle had the most features and is the only one of the 10 with GoogleDoc synchronizing. The reviewers said it was the easiest of the 10 to navigate for both children and adults and one of the most versatile diabetes apps available. The app uses pictures instead of words for navigation, including a frog for getting started. It costs $2.99.

In addition to the products review, the authors reviewed and summarized existing research that establishes what is known about the effectiveness of consistent self-monitoring of blood glucose by patients on their disease management, which is one of the main functions of the diabetes apps.

“That consistent self-monitoring of blood glucose has been shown to be a useful tool in improving glycemic control in Type 2 diabetes,” the authors state. “The implementation of smartphone applications and tools for the management of diabetes may be an effective option in reducing the progression of diabetes and improving quality of life.”

Citing 2011 figures from CTIA: The Wireless Association in Washington, D.C., the authors say more than 85 percent of Americans owned and used a mobile phone and half of those users also had Internet access through their mobile phone.