Health and Technology

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 147–157 | Cite as

What patients want: relevant health information technology for diabetes self-management

  • Diane K. KingEmail author
  • Deborah J. Toobert
  • Jennifer Dickman Portz
  • Lisa A. Strycker
  • Alyssa Doty
  • Carmen Martin
  • Jennifer M. Boggs
  • Andrew J. Faber
  • Cristy R. Geno
  • Russell E. Glasgow
Original Paper


Health information technology has great potential to promote efficiency in patient care and increase patient-provider communication, and patient engagement in their treatment. This paper explored qualitatively what patients with type 2 diabetes want from electronic resources that are designed to support their diabetes self-management. Data were collected via interviews and focus groups from managed care patients who had completed participation in either a web-based (MyPath) or in-person group-based (¡Viva Bien!) longitudinal diabetes self-management study. Content analysis identified common themes that highlighted participant interest in virtual and electronic programs to support diabetes self-management goals, and their desired content and features. Eighteen ¡Viva Bien! participants completed telephone interviews and 30 MyPath participants attended seven focus groups in 2010-2011. All participants expressed a preference for face-to-face contact; however, most participants were also interested in using technology as a tool to support daily diabetes self-management decisions and to receive tailored information. Choice of technology, personalized instruction on how to use program features, and the ability to exchange information with their healthcare team were desired by all participants. Participants were divided on whether virtual social support networks should be closed to friends and family, should include other program members (peers), or should be open to anyone with diabetes. Participants aged 65 and older stressed the desire for technical support. What patients wanted from technology is real-time assistance with daily behavioral decision-making, ability to share information with their healthcare team, connections with others for support, and choice.


Technology Diabetes Self-management Health behavior change 



The ¡Viva Bien! study was supported by grant HL077120 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The MyPath study was supported by grant DK35524 from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

No financial disclosures were reported by the authors of this paper.


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Copyright information

© IUPESM and Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diane K. King
    • 1
    Email author
  • Deborah J. Toobert
    • 2
  • Jennifer Dickman Portz
    • 3
  • Lisa A. Strycker
    • 2
  • Alyssa Doty
    • 3
  • Carmen Martin
    • 3
  • Jennifer M. Boggs
    • 3
  • Andrew J. Faber
    • 3
  • Cristy R. Geno
    • 3
  • Russell E. Glasgow
    • 4
  1. 1.Center for Behavioral Health Research and ServicesUniversity of Alaska AnchorageAnchorageUSA
  2. 2.Oregon Research InstituteEugeneUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Health ResearchKaiser Permanente ColoradoDenverUSA
  4. 4.National Cancer InstituteRockvilleUSA

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