"You get reminded you're a sick person": Personal data tracking and patients with multiple chronic conditions Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Consumer Health Information
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Records, Personal
  • Medical Informatics
  • Self Care


  • Developers of consumer health information technologies for data tracking (such as diet and exercise apps or blood glucose logs) often assume patients have unlimited enthusiasm for tracking their own health data via technology. However, our findings potentially explain relatively low adoption of consumer HIT, as they suggest that patients with multiple chronic illnesses consider it work to track their own data, that the data can be emotionally charged, and that they may perceive that providers do not welcome it. Similar themes have been found in some individual chronic diseases but appeared more complex because patients often encountered "illness work" connected to multiple diseases simultaneously and frequently faced additional challenges from aging or difficult comorbidities such as chronic pain, depression, and anxiety. We suggest that to make a public health impact, consumer HIT developers should engage creatively with these pragmatic and emotional issues to reach an audience that is broader than technologically sophisticated early adopters. Novel technologies are likely to be successful only if they clearly reduce patient inconvenience and burden, helping them to accomplish their "illness work" more efficiently and effectively.

publication date

  • January 2015



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC4642375

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2196/jmir.4209

PubMed ID

  • 26290186

Additional Document Info

start page

  • e202


  • 17


  • 8