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Patient self-management and chronic illness: evaluating outcomes and impacts of information technology.

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1
eHealth Services Research Group, CIS, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Abstract

Chronic illness is increasing in Australia and throughout the world. It is proving to be a large burden upon health systems. In response, a number of approaches are being tried including the introduction of self-management programmes to assist people in improving their health outcomes. There are also claims that the introduction of information and communications technology (ICT) tools can improve the management of these chronic conditions.This paper investigates the influence of ICT on the health outcomes and experiences of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) participating in a mentored self-management programme. It utilises a combined quantitative and qualitative methodology and introduces the use of triad interviews to provide a broader evaluation of the experiences of individuals within a controlled trial. Two sub-groups of participants within the controlled trial were examined, both received mentoring but one sub-group was also supported with access to an ICT symptom monitoring tool. This research highlights the need for more holistic perspectives on patients and towards the use of a variety of methodological approaches in designing and evaluating e-health projects. Critically, this research highlights the need to expand our understanding of participant's outcomes beyond conventional clinical or cohort based measures.

PMID:
19380941
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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