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How young adults with type 1 diabetes interact with technology and how their views and experiences can inform the development of a patient-centric mobile health app.

By Andrew John Pulman


Background: Views of young adults with type 1 diabetes are vital in developing quality support services and improving their lives, yet research on their lifestyle and use of technology to support their condition is sparse. Aim: (1) Develop an insight into use of Internet and web/mobile technology and its impact on the lives of young adults, by understanding their experiences from qualitative interviewing, exploring how they made use of technology concerning their lives and condition. (2) Utilise sociotechnical design principles and develop a mobile app, seeking participant opinions on design and usefulness during the development cycle. Design: Data collected through semi-structured, qualitative interviews (n=9) of young adults aged 18-21 with type 1 diabetes. Data analysis undertaken during initial interviews (n=4) to locate ideas for development. Later interviews assisted in the iterative design process (n=5). Pre-launch feedback also obtained from clinical staff (n=5). Evaluation data collected from different young adults from a wider range of demographic backgrounds post launch (n=11) on app usability, usage and usefulness. Findings: Six themes were identified providing an understanding of participant experiences with their condition and their use of technology. From suggestions prototyped, a clinically approved mobile alcohol guide app was developed. Post launch data analysis identified six different themes relating to app usability, usage and usefulness. Conclusion: The study contributes to new knowledge regarding: (1) The lives of young adults with type 1 diabetes, by providing examples of how their lives could be improved based on use of the Internet and web/mobile technology. (2) The technical development process, by documenting best practice procedures and principles involved in creating a patient-centric educational health app (downloaded globally 2,639 times as of July 2015). (3) Policy, by highlighting areas where care and support were lacking in the target group and where there were gaps in knowledge and understanding

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