Preference for health information and decision-making autonomy among Chinese patients with T2DM in the mHealth era
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This quantitative descriptive study explored preferences for health information and decision-making and for mobile health (mHealth) use in Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Specific aims of this study were: to explore (1) individual preferences for the types and amounts of health information and decision-making autonomy among Chinese patients with T2DM; (2) their use of mobile technology in their self-management of the condition; and (3) the relationship between their use of mHealth and their preferences for health information and decision-making autonomy. The sample consisted of 200 Mandarin-speaking Chinese patients from 26 to 90 years of age (mean age 59.91; SD: 12.17) with T2DM and a mean of 7.4 years since diabetes diagnosis. Data were collected via a pen-and-paper survey questionnaire at a general hospital in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, China. The survey questionnaire measured preferences for health information and decision-making autonomy and mHealth use. The study results provided empirical evidence that Chinese patients with T2DM wanted to have a wide range of health information and participation in decision-making. Gender, health status, and knowledge about the condition were associated with differences in information wanted and participation in decision-making, but age was not. Half (50.5%) of the participants used smartphones to access the Internet and look for health or medical information; 71% of participants used smartphones to receive/read health-related posts; and 24% of participants had at least one health-related application downloaded to their smartphones. Smartphone use frequency for health information and participation in decision-making had a statistically significant interaction, the strength of which varied across seven subscales (specific health condition, treatment, laboratory tests, self-management, complementary/alternative medicine, psychosocial aspects, and healthcare providers). The overall health information wanted had a positive relationship with using smartphones to receive health-related posts. This study has implications for research and clinical practice, especially given the shift from disease-centered to patient-centered care.