Context-aware systems for chronic disease patients: scoping review

Kathleen Yin, Liliana Laranjo, Huong Ly Tong, Annie Y. S. Lau, A. Baki Kocaballi, Paige Martin, Sanjyot Vagholkar, Enrico Coiera

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
62 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Context-aware systems, also known as context-sensitive systems, are computing applications designed to capture, interpret, and use contextual information and provide adaptive services according to the current context of use. Context-aware systems have the potential to support patients with chronic conditions; however, little is known about how such systems have been utilized to facilitate patient work. Objective: This study aimed to characterize the different tasks and contexts in which context-aware systems for patient work were used as well as to assess any existing evidence about the impact of such systems on health-related process or outcome measures. Methods: A total of 6 databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, ACM Digital, Web of Science, and Scopus) were scanned using a predefined search strategy. Studies were included in the review if they focused on patients with chronic conditions, involved the use of a context-aware system to support patients' health-related activities, and reported the evaluation of the systems by the users. Studies were screened by independent reviewers, and a narrative synthesis of included studies was conducted. Results: The database search retrieved 1478 citations; 6 papers were included, all published from 2009 onwards. The majority of the papers were quasi-experimental and involved pilot and usability testing with a small number of users; there were no randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to evaluate the efficacy of a context-aware system. In the included studies, context was captured using sensors or self-reports, sometimes involving both. Most studies used a combination of sensor technology and mobile apps to deliver personalized feedback. A total of 3 studies examined the impact of interventions on health-related measures, showing positive results. Conclusions: The use of context-aware systems to support patient work is an emerging area of research. RCTs are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of context-aware systems in improving patient work, self-management practices, and health outcomes in chronic disease patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10896
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • chronic disease
  • medical informatics
  • mobile applications
  • self-care
  • self-management


Dive into the research topics of 'Context-aware systems for chronic disease patients: scoping review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this