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Examining the Influence of Wearable Health Monitors on Patients and Physicians in a Filipino Community

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Title:Examining the Influence of Wearable Health Monitors on Patients and Physicians in a Filipino Community
Authors:Loos, Joanne Romero
Contributors:Davidson, Elizabeth (advisor)
Communication and Information Science (department)
Keywords:Communication
Information technology
Health sciences
Filipino Community
Health Behavior
show 4 moreHealth Communication
Information Technology
Patient Engagement
Physician-Patient Communication
show less
Date Issued:2019
Publisher:University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Abstract:Considerable growth in the use of wearable health monitors, paired with calls for more patient engagement, lead one to question how the increased adoption of wearables can be leveraged to improve health outcomes overall. Individuals of Filipino descent are at an increased risk for chronic conditions. This suggests that this population in particular could benefit from interventions aimed at increasing physical activity (PA) and improving health overall. Some studies have investigated wearables’ effectiveness at increasing an individual’s PA, while others have looked at patient participation in medical visits as mechanisms through which patients engage in healthier behaviors. As more individuals adopt wearables, the health data generated by these devices could become integrated in physician-patient communication in ways that might improve health outcomes. Further, the impact of these devices on psychological aspects related to health, such as self-efficacy, may have indirect effects that extend to communication in office visits. However, we do not yet know enough about how individual patients, particularly those of Filipino descent, will adopt these devices and whether or how their experiences with wearables will enhance, or potentially detract, from communication between physicians and patients during healthcare encounters. Drawing on studies about physician-patient communication, health behavior change, information technologies, and public health, this study sought to investigate: (i) how the use of a wearable affected self-efficacy, and (ii) how the use of a wearable affected physician-patient communication in a rural, predominantly Filipino community.
This research employed a quasi-experimental field study with patient participants who were given Fitbit Flex devices and attended medical visits with their physicians. Patients were recruited from the private practices of a family doctor and an internal medicine physician in a rural, predominantly Filipino community in Oahu, Hawaii. The study incorporated multiple measurements and gathered data from questionnaires, recorded medical appointments, exported data from the wearable devices, phone interviews, and encounter notes. Results indicate that wearables show promise at enhancing physician-patient communication, but in unexpected ways. This study did not find significant relationships between wearable use and self-efficacy and/or patient participation in medical visits. However it found that, if incorporated into the conversation, wearables may help to improve physician-patient communication in medical encounters through other avenues, such as extending the conversation into lifestyle choices and providing a source of proof for patients to exhibit that they are following their doctors’ orders. This study highlights challenges that patients in this population might face when it comes to adopting a wearable and suggests potential avenues of exploring those challenges further. Digital divide issues are present and extend beyond access to resources and into usage of digital resources. This may counter adoption and restrict efficacy-enhancing mechanisms of devices in populations such as the predominantly Filipino population studied here. This research proposes an extended research model that may help to inform future studies of this nature.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2019
Pages/Duration:172 pages
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/63169
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Communication and Information Sciences


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