Background and objectivesThe information technology is a pivotal source of communication between patients and healthcare providers for managing chronic diseases. The objective of this study is to assess the capacity and willingness of patients to use information technology for managing chronic diseases.
MethodsA descriptive, cross-sectional study design was employed. Study was conducted in six tertiary care hospitals of Lahore, Pakistan. The study population consisted of patients aged ?18 years and diagnosed with a minimum of one chronic non-communicable disease. A structured questionnaire was administered to the study participants for data collection. SPSS was used for data analysis.
ResultsAmong the 400 respondents, hypertension (39.5%) was the leading chronic condition followed by diabetes (27.5%). Majority of the patients owned a cell phone (90.7%) and had internet access (66.2%). Almost half of the respondents (51.0%) were willing to use text messages; whereas 78.5% and 75.7% of the respondents were reluctant to use video conference and e-mail as a source of communication with healthcare providers. Reason for unwillingness to use e-mail was the patients' desire to be directly examined by the doctor; whereas unfamiliarity with the use of text message and video conference was the major reason for not using these technologies. Logistic regression analysis revealed that interest in using e-mail to interact with specialist was more among those participants who had good self-reported health (OR = 2.579, 95%CI = 1.276-5.212, p = .008), access to internet (OR = 5.416, 95%CI = 2.777-10.564, p < .001), and those who owned a cell phone (OR = 12.944, 95%CI = 1.751-95.704, p = .012). Interest in using text messages to interact with specialist was more among participants with middle-income group (OR = 2.303, 95%CI = 1.389-3.818, p < .001), residency in close proximity to healthcare professional (OR = 3.529, 95%CI = 2.333-5.339, p < .001), access to internet (OR = 3.253, 95%CI = 2.102-5.033, p < .001) and among those who owned a cell phone (OR = 46.709, 95%CI = 6.335-344.377, p < .001). Interest in using video conference to interact with specialist was more among those participants who had access to internet (OR = 5.840, 95%CI = 2.825-12.069, p < .001) and among those who owned a cell phone (OR = 11.177, 95%CI = 1.510-82.725, p = .018).
ConclusionThis study concluded that nearly half of the respondents were willing to use text messages; whereas, majority was reluctant in using video conference and e-mail as a source of communication with healthcare providers. Most of the respondents who were located farther from the health care provider were willing to use video conferencing in case it could save more than 60 minutes of their time.
SUBMITTER: Iftikhar S