Toward the Value Sensitive Design of eHealth Technologies to Support Self-management of Cardiovascular Diseases: Content Analysis

Roberto Rafael Cruz-Martinez*, Jobke Wentzel, Britt Elise Bente, Robbert Sanderman, Julia E.W.C. van Gemert-Pijnen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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eHealth can revolutionize the way self-management support is offered to chronically ill individuals such as those with a cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, patients’ fluctuating motivation to actually perform self-management is an important factor for which to account. Tailoring and personalizing eHealth to fit with the values of individuals promises to be an effective motivational strategy. Nevertheless, how specific eHealth technologies and design features could potentially contribute to values of individuals with a CVD has not been explicitly studied before.

This study sought to connect a set of empirically validated, health-related values of individuals with a CVD with existing eHealth technologies and their design features. The study searched for potential connections between design features and values with the goal to advance knowledge about how eHealth technologies can actually be more meaningful and motivating for end users.

Undertaking a technical investigation that fits with the value sensitive design framework, a content analysis of existing eHealth technologies was conducted. We matched 11 empirically validated values of CVD patients with 70 design features from 10 eHealth technologies that were previously identified in a systematic review. The analysis consisted mainly of a deductive coding stage performed independently by 3 members of the study team. In addition, researchers and developers of 6 of the 10 reviewed technologies provided input about potential feature-value connections.

In total, 98 connections were made between eHealth design features and patient values. This meant that some design features could contribute to multiple values. Importantly, some values were more often addressed than others. CVD patients’ values most often addressed were related to (1) having or maintaining a healthy lifestyle, (2) having an overview of personal health data, (3) having reliable information and advice, (4) having extrinsic motivators to accomplish goals or health-related activities, and (5) receiving personalized care. In contrast, values less often addressed concerned (6) perceiving low thresholds to access health care, (7) receiving social support, (8) preserving a sense of autonomy over life, and (9) not feeling fear, anxiety, or insecurity about health. Last, 2 largely unaddressed values were related to (10) having confidence and self-efficacy in the treatment or ability to achieve goals and (11) desiring to be seen as a person rather than a patient.

Positively, existing eHealth technologies could be connected with CVD patients’ values, largely through design features that relate to educational support, self-monitoring support, behavior change support, feedback, and motivational incentives. Other design features such as reminders, prompts or cues, peer-based or expert-based human support, and general system personalization were also connected with values but in narrower ways. In future studies, the inferred feature-value connections must be validated with empirical data from individuals with a CVD or similar chronic conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1985
Number of pages18
JournalJMIR Cardio
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


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