Doctor of Philosophy
School of Computing and Information Technology
Background: Chronic conditions are the leading cause of ill-health, disability and premature death, adding huge health and socioeconomic burden to the healthcare system. Although mobile health (mHealth) services have the potential to provide patients with a timely, ubiquitous, and cost-effective means to access healthcare services, to date, much remains to be revealed for their application in chronic condition management.
Aim: This doctoral project aims to comprehensively understand the application of mHealth services to support patient self-management of chronic conditions. This aim is achieved through four objectives: (1) to synthesise research evidence about health outcomes of applying mHealth services to support patient self-management of chronic conditions and the essential components to achieve these outcomes, (2) to determine the mechanism for applying mHealth services to support patient self-management of chronic conditions, (3) to explore critical factors and how these factors influence patients' intention to continuously use mHealth services, and (4) to apply the above findings to guide the design of a prototype mHealth service.
Methods: To increase the generalisability of the findings, three chronic conditions that could benefit from mHealth services were purposively studied to address the research objectives within the feasibility of available study sites and resources at different stages of the project. First, two literature review studies were conducted to achieve Objective 1. One was a systematic review to investigate health outcomes of mHealth services to support patient self-management of one chronic condition, unhealthy alcohol use, and the essential components to achieve these outcomes. The other was a rapid review on using behavioural theory to guide the design of mHealth services that support patient self-management of another chronic condition, hypertension. Second, two field studies were conducted to achieve Objectives 2 and 3, respectively. One was an interview study that explored patients' perceptions of a mHealth service to support their self-management of hypertension in China. The other was a questionnaire survey study conducted on the same site that explored critical factors influencing patients' intention to continuously use the mHealth service. Third, a clinician-led, experience-based co-design approach was implemented to apply the above-mentioned learning experience to the development practice of a mHealth service that supports patient self-management of obesity before elective surgery in Australia, achieving Objective 4.
Results: Literature reviews identify five structural components - context, theory, content, delivery mode, and implementation procedure - which are essential for mHealth services to achieve three health outcomes - behavioural, physiological, and cognitive outcomes. Inductive synthesis of the interview findings lead to a 6A framework that summarises the mechanisms for mHealth services: access, assessment, assistance, awareness, ability, and activation. Mobile health services provide patients with easy access to health assessment and healthcare assistance to increase their self-management awareness and ability, thereby activating their self-management behaviours. Questionnaire survey study finds that patients' intention to continuously use mHealth services can be influenced by the information quality, system quality and service quality by influencing their perceived usefulness and satisfaction with the mHealth services. Guided by Social Cognitive Theory, the developed prototype mHealth service provide patients with functions of automatic push notifications, online resources, goal setting and monitoring, and interactive health-related exchanges that encourage their physical activity, healthy eating, psychological preparation, and a positive outlook for elective surgery. The patients' requirements in two focus group discussions enabled the research team to improve the mHealth service design.
Conclusion: Mobile health services guided by behavioural theories can provide patients with easy access to health assessment and healthcare assistance to increase their self-management awareness and ability, thereby activating their self-management behaviours. The effort for designing mHealth services needs to be placed on crafting content (to improve information quality), developing useful functions and selecting a proper delivery mode (to improve system quality), and establishing effective implementation procedures (to improve service quality). These will ensure patients' perceived usefulness and satisfaction with mHealth services, increase their intention to continuously use such services, thus supporting long-term patient self-management of chronic conditions. As demonstrated by the design case, the findings of this PhD project can be generalised to guide the design of other mHealth services that aim to support patient self-management of chronic conditions.
Song, Ting, Application of Mobile Health Services to Support Patient Self-Management of Chronic Conditions, Doctor of Philosophy thesis, School of Computing and Information Technology, University of Wollongong, 2021. https://ro.uow.edu.au/theses1/1203
FoR codes (2008)
0806 INFORMATION SYSTEMS, 1117 PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES
Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.