Medical apps for teenagers with type 1 diabetes: Supporting patients’ decision-making?

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Mobile health (mHealth) technologies, such as apps, are often touted as empowering their users by complementing the care and advice provided by healthcare practitioners, and helping them make healthcare decisions. However, apps can affect users’ healthcare decisions both positively and negatively (Abbasgholizadeh Rahimi et al., 2017). The aim of this paper is to explore how a medical diabetes app, Diapplo, affected teenagers’ decision-making regarding diabetes management.

Our analysis derives from a qualitative in-depth case study of the development and use of a medical app at two outpatient clinics in Denmark from October 2016 to December 2017 (Stake, 2005). The app was developed through collaboration between users, health professionals and IT designers using an action research approach to support teenagers with type 1 diabetes. The app was tested by users and health professionals at two outpatient clinics. Data comprise transcripts from meetings and workshops (15), interviews with the teenagers (5), observations in consultations (6), and material developed for inclusion in the app. The data were analysed using qualitative content analysis (Graneheim and Lundman, 2004) and contextually interpreted (Abma and Stake, 2014).

Analysis indicates that the teenagers’ decision-making needs were not fully met in the app for several reasons. The teenagers considered some of the app’s functions and information unnecessary and found that it lacked other features. Teenagers rarely used the app to seek medical information about diabetes to support their decision-making; they wanted a private space in the app to chat with other diabetics, and did not see benefits in using the app to track blood glucose levels. Instead, interacting with peers about everyday life decisions and events without focusing on biological aspects of the disease were prioritised.

Inspired by theories of shared decision-making and patient engagement, we discuss the consequences of using medical apps to involve teenagers with a chronic disease in making health-related decisions, particularly given our findings, which highlighted the impact of the app’s functionalities. With the ongoing digitalization of healthcare via mHealth technologies and the importance attached to patient participation, further attention needs to be paid to identifying how health apps can best support patients’ decision-making.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
Udgivelsesår2018
StatusUdgivet - 2018
BegivenhedInternational Conference on Communication in Healthcare (ICCH) 2018 - Porto, Portugal
Varighed: 1 sep. 20184 sep. 2018

Konference

KonferenceInternational Conference on Communication in Healthcare (ICCH) 2018
LandPortugal
ByPorto
Periode01/09/201804/09/2018

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