Aims: There is increasing international interest in using emerging technologies to enhance chronic disease management. We aimed to explore the attitudes of patients and primary care professionals to using mobile technology in order to monitor asthma.
Methods: A piloted questionnaire containing closed and open-ended questions assessing attitudes to using electronic self-monitoring was posted to a random sample of general practitioners, asthma nurses, and people with asthma (12 years and over) in Lothian and Kent, UK, with 2 reminders. In addition to descriptive statistics, patient and clinician responses were compared using Chi-squared or independent sample t-tests. Free-text responses were analysed thematically.
Results: Responses were obtained from 130/300 professionals (43%) and 202/389 patients (52%). Patients rated the technology positively and considered that it may help clinicians to provide care, especially during acute attacks. Although rated similarly, professionals were more sceptical about benefits. Both professionals and patients had concerns about the time and cost implications. Of the respondents, 28 professionals (10%) and 62 patients (16%) returned uncompleted questionnaires citing lack of perceived relevance.
Conclusions: The low completion rate probably reflects the current status of mobile phone-facilitated care as a minority interest for 'early adopters' of technology. Even for the enthusiastic minority, using mobile phone technology raised questions of clinical benefit, impact on self-management, and concerns about workload and cost, which will need to be addressed prior to wider acceptance.