Background: Patients with hypertension in the community frequently fail to meet treatment goals. The optimal way to organize and deliver care to hypertensive patients has not been clearly identified. The powerful on-board computing capacity of mobile devices, along with the unique relationship individuals have with newer technologies, suggests that they have the potential to influence behaviour. However, little is known regarding the views and experiences of patients using such technology to self-manage their hypertension and associated lifestyle behaviours. The aim of this study was to explore patients' views and experiences of using technology based self-management tools for the treatment of hypertension in the community.
Methods: This focus group study was conducted with known hypertensive patients over 45 years of age who were recruited in a community setting in Ireland. Taped and transcribed semi-structured interviews with a purposeful sample involving 50 participants in six focus groups were used. Framework analysis was utilized to analyse the data.
Results: Four key inter-related themes emerged from the analysis: individualisation; trust; motivation; and communication. The globalisation of newer technologies has triggered many substantial and widespread behaviour changes within society, yet users are unique in their use and interactions with such technologies. Trust is an ever present issue in terms of its potential impact on engagement with healthcare providers and motivation around self-management. The potential ability of technology to influence motivation through carefully selected and tailored messaging and to facilitate a personalised flow of communication between patient and healthcare provider was highlighted.
Conclusions: Newer technologies such as mobile devices and the internet have been embraced across the globe despite technological challenges and concerns regarding privacy and security. In the design and development of technology based self-management tools for the treatment of hypertension, flexibility and security are vital to allow and encourage patients to customise, personalise and engage with their devices.