Designing Information to Facilitate Chronic Disease Management: Clinician-Patient Interactions in Diabetes Care

TitleDesigning Information to Facilitate Chronic Disease Management: Clinician-Patient Interactions in Diabetes Care
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsAckerman, MS, Mirel, B
EditorHayes, BM, Aspray, W
Book TitleHealth Informatics: A Patient-Centered Approach to Diabetes
PublisherMIT Press
CityCambridge, MA
Keywordsdiabetes, health communication, health informatics, information access, medical informatics, patient care, patient information, support groups

This chapter examines the information needs of patients like the participants with diabetes in the observed group. This group of people had previously demonstrated receptivity to managing their diabetes for a productive life and lifestyle. As with a large proportion of patients with diabetes, however, sustaining this commitment wasdifficult.Similar to the complex needs of people with other chronic medical conditions, these patients’ sustained self-care was confounded bymultiple physiological conditions, emotional and psychological responses, social support needs, competing priorities, and varyingcompetences in communicating needs to the medical community (Klemm & Wheeler, 2005).  Although these patients did not need constant attention and help, and although they were self-motivated and almost entirely well educated, the information resources that are typically provided did not seem to work for them.Through studying this particularly engaged and motivated group of longterm patients with diabetes, we were able to delineate critical problems that even engaged and motivated people trying to take care of a chronic disease necessarily face. Observing these participants, then, allowed us to see where standard information sources were lacking.This chapter also explores what we need to understand better about content and framing in information exchanges to identify possible approaches for evoking patient responsiveness and for fostering a reflectivity-for-action that may have sustained results. As the care manager who led this group said, the purpose of the group was to provide information for future action.  Our analysis shows that these participants engaged in personalized information exchanges to understand the trade-offs and alternatives they faced.