Huygens, M.W.J., Swinkels, I.C.S., Jong, J.D. de, Heijmans, M.J.W.M., Friele, R.D., Schayck, O.C.P. van, Witte, L.P. de
Self-monitoring of health data by patients with a chronic disease: does disease controllability matter?
BMC Family Practice, 18 (2017) 40,
Background: There is a growing emphasis on self-monitoring applications that allow patients to measure their own physical health parameters. A prerequisite for achieving positive effects is patients’ willingness to self-monitor. The controllability of disease types, patients’ perceived self-efficacy and health problems could play an essential role in this.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between patients’ willingness to self-monitor and a range of disease and patient specific variables including controllability of disease type, patients’ perceived self-efficacy and health problems.
Methods: Data regarding 627 participants with 17 chronic somatic disease types from a Dutch panel of people with chronic diseases have been used for this cross-sectional study. Perceived self-efficacy was assessed using the general self-efficacy scale, perceived health problems using the Physical Health Composite Score (PCS). Participants indicated their willingness to self-monitor. An expert panel assessed for 17 chronic disease types the extent to which patients can independently keep their disease in control. Logistic regression analyses were conducted.
Results: Patients’ willingness to self-monitor differs greatly among disease types: patients with diabetes (71.0%), asthma (59.6%) and hypertension (59.1%) were most willing to self-monitor. In contrast, patients with rheumatism (40.0%), migraine (41.2%) and other neurological disorders (42.9%) were less willing to self-monitor. It seems that there might be a relationship between disease controllability scores and patients’ willingness to self-monitor. No evidence is found of a relationship between general self-efficacy and PCS scores, and patients’ willingness to self-monitor.
Conclusions: This study provides the first evidence that patients’ willingness to self-monitor might be associated with disease controllability. Further research should investigate this association more deeply and should focus on how disease controllability influences willingness to self-monitor. In addition, since willingness to self-monitor differed greatly among patient groups, it should be taken into account that not all patient groups are willing to self-monitor.