Social and self-Reflective use of a web-Based personally controlled health management system

Annie Y. S. Lau*, Adam G. Dunn, Nathan Mortimer, Aideen Gallagher, Judith Proudfoot, Annie Andrews, Siaw Teng Liaw, Jacinta Crimmins, Amaël Arguel, Enrico Coiera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Personally controlled health management systems (PCHMSs) contain a bundle of features to help patients and consumers manage their health. However, it is unclear how consumers actually use a PCHMS in their everyday settings. Objective: To conduct an empirical analysis of how consumers used the social (forum and poll) and self-reflective (diary and personal health record [PHR]) features of a Web-based PCHMS designed to support their physical and emotional well-being. Methods: A single-group pre/post-test online prospective study was conducted to measure use of a Web-based PCHMS for physical and emotional well-being needs during a university academic semester. The PCHMS integrated an untethered PHR with social forums, polls, a diary, and online messaging links with a health service provider. Well-being journeys additionally provided information to encourage engagement with clinicians and health services. A total of 1985 students and staff aged 18 and above with access to the Internet were recruited online, of which 709 were eligible for analysis. Participants' self-reported well-being, health status, health service utilization, and help-seeking behaviors were compared using chi-square, McNemar's test, and Student's t test. Social networks were constructed to examine the online forum communication patterns among consumers and clinicians. Results: The two PCHMS features that were used most frequently and considered most useful and engaging were the social features (ie, the poll and forum). More than 30% (213/709) of participants who sought well-being assistance during the study indicated that other people had influenced their decision to seek help (54.4%, 386/709 sought assistance for physical well-being; 31.7%, 225/709 for emotional well-being). Although the prevalence of using a self-reflective feature (diary or PHR) was not as high (diary: 8.6%, 61/709; PHR: 15.0%, 106/709), the proportion of participants who visited a health care professional during the study was more than 20% greater in the group that did use a self-reflective feature (diary: P=.03; PHR: P<.001). Conclusions: There was variation in the degree to which consumers used social and self-reflective PCHMS features but both were significantly associated with increased help-seeking behaviors and health service utilization. A PCHMS should combine both self-reflective as well as socially driven components to most effectively influence consumers' help-seeking behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere211
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Volume15
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes

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