Jennifer L. Martin,Alexandra R. Lang, Michael P. Craven & Sarah Sharples
Faculty of Engineering, The University of Nottingham, UK
In recent years the amount of medical equipment being used by patients and in non-healthcare environments has increased dramatically and, with the growing popularity of assisted living programmes, combined with an ageing population, this trend is set to continue. However, little research has been conducted on how medical technology should be introduced to patients so that it can be used safely, correctly and regularly. A qualitative study was performed to investigate the user issues associated with the task of home blood glucose monitoring by people with Type II Diabetes. A total of 9 patients took part in either an individual interview or focus group. This study found that there was significant variability between the participants with regard to the perceived aims and motivations for blood glucose monitoring. For some, mainly older patients, monitoring was seen as providing a once-a-daymeasure that provided peace ofmind if their blood levelswere normal, or an indication that they should seekmedical advice if they were not. However others, predominately younger or recently diagnosed, saw monitoring as an opportunity to learn about their condition and how it should be managed and reported that they often tested a number of times a day to see how the readings were affected by changes in activity or diet. Some participants reported that they did not disclose these monitoring behaviours to their medical practitioners as they conflicted with their prescribed regimens. A notable finding of this study was the training and education about blood glucose monitoring that the patients had received. In most cases, patients reported that little or no training had been provided on how to operate the glucose meters with a number reporting that they had been given a sealed box as theywere leaving a consultation.As a result they had been reliant on the instructions provided by themanufacturers, although thesewere reported as being clear and easy to follow by the majority of the participants. This presentation will discuss the main findings of this study, the implications of these issues for other home-use medical devices and the challenges they present for:
• Manufacturers, who must develop devices that are, not just clinical effective, but also usable and safe when used by people with a wide variety of characteristics, training, and capabilities and in environments that are varied and unpredictable.