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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

The freeware AIDA interactive educational diabetes simulator – http://www.2aida.org – (1) A download survey for AIDA v4.0

Eldon D. Lehmann

Med Sci Monit 2001; 7(3): MT504-515

ID: 510364

Available online:


The purpose of this paper is to report a survey of 1,360 downloads of the AIDA interactive educational diabetes simulator. AIDA is a diabetes computer program which permits the interactive simulation of plasma insulin and blood glucose profiles for educational, demonstration and self-learning purposes. It has been made freely available, without charge, on the Internet as a non-commercial contribution to continuing diabetes education. Since its launch in 1996 over 74,000 visits have been logged at the AIDA Website - http://www.2aida.org - and over 20,000 copies of the AIDA program have been downloaded free-of-charge. This report documents a preliminary survey of downloaders of the software. The intended goals of the study were: (i) to establish the feasibility of using the Internet for auditing and surveying diabetes software users; (ii) to identify the proportion of patients with diabetes and their relatives who are actually making use of the program; and (iii) to establish certain technical details about downloaders' computer setups to facilitate the distribution of upgrades to the software. Results: The Internet-based survey methodology was found to be robust and reliable. 1,360 responses were received over an 8 month period (from November 1999 to July 2000). During the corresponding period 3,821 actual downloads of the software were independently logged at the Website - giving a response rate to this survey of 35.6%. Responses were received from participants in 67 countries - although over half of these (n=730, 54%) originated from the USA and UK. 762 responses (56%) were received from patients with diabetes and 184 (13.5%) from relatives of patients, with lesser numbers from doctors, students, diabetes educators, nurses, pharmacists, and other end users. Useful technical information about computers and operating systems being used were also obtained. This study has established the feasibility of using the Internet to survey, at no real cost, a large number of medical software downloaders/users. In addition it has yielded interesting data in terms of who are the main downloaders of the AIDA program, and has also provided technical (computer) information which has aided the recent release of a freeware upgrade to the software (AIDA v4.3).

Keywords: Computers, Information Technology, diabetes education, audit, interactive simulation, Diabetes Mellitus