How mHealth can facilitate collaboration in diabetes care: qualitative analysis of co-design workshops

Meghan Bradway, Rebecca L. Morris, Alain Giordanengo, Eirik Årsand

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Individuals with diabetes are using mobile health (mHealth) to track their self-management. However, individuals can understand even more about their diabetes by sharing these patient-gathered data (PGD) with health professionals. We conducted experience-based co-design (EBCD) workshops, with the aim of gathering end-users’ needs and expectations for a PGD-sharing system.

N = 15 participants provided feedback about their experiences and needs in diabetes care and expectations for sharing PGD. The first workshop (2017) included patients with Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) (n = 4) and general practitioners (GPs) (n = 3). The second workshop (2018) included patients with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) (n = 5), diabetes specialists (n = 2) and a nurse. The workshops involved two sessions: separate morning sessions for patients and healthcare providers (HCPs), and afternoon session for all participants. Discussion guides included questions about end-users’ perceptions of mHealth and expectations for a data-sharing system. Activities included brainstorming and designing paper-prototypes. Workshops were audio recorded, transcribed and translated from Norwegian to English. An abductive approach to thematic analysis was taken.

Emergent themes were mHealth technologies’ impacts on end-users, and functionalities of a data-sharing system. Within these themes, similarities and differences between those with T1D and T2D, and between HCPs, were revealed. Patients and providers agreed that HCPs could use PGD to provide more concrete self-management recommendations. Participants’ paper-prototypes revealed which data types should be gathered and displayed during consultations, and how this could facilitate shared-decision making.

The diverse and differentiated results suggests the need for flexible and tailorable systems that allow patients and providers to review summaries, with the option to explore details, and identify an individual’s challenges, together. Participants’ feedback revealed that both patients and HCPs acknowledge that for mHealth integration to be successful, not only must the technology be validated but feasible changes throughout the healthcare education and practice must be addressed. Only then can both sides be adequately prepared for mHealth data-sharing in diabetes consultations. Subsequently, the design and performance of the joint workshop sessions demonstrated that involving both participant groups together led to efficient and concrete discussions about realistic solutions and limitations of sharing mHealth data in consultations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Early online date30 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


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