Objective: As diabetes requires extensive self-care, self-management education is widely recommended to enhance the effectiveness and reduce the costs of treatment. While a variety of diabetes selfmanagement (DSM) programs are available, the conditions for their effective implementation are not well documented. This paper reviews the literature on implementation fidelity (IF), the degree to which programs are delivered as intended, as a factor influencing the effectiveness of diabetes education.
Methods: Medical, psychological and educational research databases were searched to identify published studies on diabetes education describing the implementation process. Studies detailing the intervention adherence/fidelity/integrity were included to assess the way key elements of IF were addressed.
Results: From an initial 418 abstracts, 20 published papers were retained for an in-depth analysis focusing on the components of IF. Intervention content was mainly assessed through observation, whereas intervention dose was more often assessed through self-report measures. Only one study addressed the relationship between IF and intervention effectiveness.
Conclusion: Despite the importance of IF to achieve program outcomes, IF of DSM programs remains largely under-investigated.
Practice implications: The results of this review suggest that reports on DSM education should systematically describe how the program was implemented. The impact of IF on program outcomes needs further investigation.