Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 1277–1290 | Cite as

Design challenges for ubiquitous and personal computing in chronic disease care and patient empowerment: a case study rethinking diabetes self-monitoring

  • Cristiano Storni
Original Article


This paper aims to raise issues concerning the design of self-care technology, which supports an increasing number of individuals’ chronic disease in everyday life. It discusses the results of an ethnographic study that exposes the intricacies and practicalities of managing diabetes in everyday life, and informs the patient-centric design of a diabetes journaling tool. It also sheds light on some everyday chronic self-care practices and suggests how to re-think some of the assumptions and connotations of the current medical model and the traditional role of the patient, which is not always fully appreciated in the design of ubiquitous and personal technologies for the patient. In particular, the analysis covers: the open-ended and uncertain nature of chronic care, the wide inter- and intra-variability of patients’ conditions and attitudes towards the disease, and the need for more symmetrical interactions and consultations with medical experts. These findings informed the design of a proof of concept called Tag-it-Yourself (TiY), a mobile journaling tool that enables the personalisation of self-monitoring practices. A final discussion on the actual use of the TiY tool is also offered along with general implications for the design of self-care technologies and an outline of future directions for research in this area.


Self-care Chronic disease Patient empowerment Self-monitoring Diabetes 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Computer Science and Information Systems Department, Interaction Design CentreUniversity of LimerickLimerickIreland

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