Title

A close look at socio-technical design features of mobile applications for diabetes self-management

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-26-2020

Abstract

Many mobile apps used for chronic disease self-management suffer from low usage and retention. In this paper, we analyzed apps for self-management of diabetes to understand their strengths and shortcomings from a Socio-Technical (ST) perspective and identify areas for improvement. The ST model and ST categories (Task-Actor, Task-Structure, Task-Technology, Actor-Structure, Actor-Technology, Structure-Technology) were used to identify gaps in the current design of Diabetes Management Mobile Apps. We used a content analysis approach to analyze each app’s functionality and users’ comments against a set of ST features generated based on the ST model and the associated categories. Results showed that most mobile apps are designed to support the technical characteristics in such context as reflected in the Task-Technology and Actor-Technology categories like self-care functionality, ease of use and usefulness, managing resources, and coordinating tasks. However, limitations exist when considering the larger structure within which self-care tasks are performed such as enabling physician–patient communication and feedback. Most of the limitations we observed are in the Task-Structure and Technology-Structure categories that capture features related to the interdependency of self-care tasks with provider and payer workflows.

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