Sixty-two children and adolescents with IDDM were observed while performing self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) to determine which of the behaviors involved in SMBG were most likely to be performed incorrectly and which errors had the greatest effect on the accuracy bf SMBG readings. Behaviors related to cleanliness and timing were performed most poorly; only 60% of the subjects correctly timed the first minute, and 30–33% correctly timed the second interval. The duration of SMBG and frequency of monitoring were not related to proper performance of the behaviors involved in SMBG. Accuracy of SMBG was assessed by comparing subjects' readings to laboratory values obtained immediately afterward. The behavior that had the greatest effect on the accuracy of SMBG readings was that concerning whether the blood was adequately wiped from the Chemstrip bG. This behavior should receive more emphasis in SMBG training programs. The systematic observation procedure used in this study may help to identify errors made by patients while performing SMBG and may serve as the basis for training programs to improve SMBG accuracy.

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