Digital health for chronic disease management: An exploratory method to investigating technology adoption potential

Vasileios Nittas, Chiara Zecca, Christian P. Kamm, Jens Kuhle, Andrew Chan, Viktor Von Wyl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction The availability of consumer-facing health technologies for chronic disease management is skyrocketing, yet most are limited by low adoption rates. Improving adoption requires a better understanding of a target population's previous exposure to technology. We propose a low-resource approach of capturing and clustering technology exposure, as a mean to better understand patients and target health technologies. Methods Using Multiple Sclerosis (MS) as a case study, we applied exploratory multivariate factorial analyses to survey data from the Swiss MS Registry. We calculated individual-level factor scorings, aiming to investigate possible technology adoption clusters with similar digital behavior patterns. The resulting clusters were transformed using radar and then compared across sociodemographic and health status characteristics. Results Our analysis included data from 990 respondents, resulting in three clusters, which we defined as the (1) average users, (2) health-interested users, and (3) low frequency users. The average user uses consumer-facing technology regularly, mainly for daily, regular activities and less so for health-related purposes. The health-interested user also uses technology regularly, for daily activities as well as health-related purposes. The low-frequency user uses technology infrequently. Conclusions Only about 10% of our sample has been regularly using (adopting) consumer-facing technology for MS and health-related purposes. That might indicate that many of the current consumer-facing technologies for MS are only attractive to a small proportion of patients. The relatively low-resource exploratory analyses proposed here may allow for a better characterization of prospective user populations and ultimately, future patient-facing technologies that will be targeted to a broader audience.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0284477
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4 APRIL
StatePublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes


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