Self-monitoring of health data by patients with a chronic disease: Does disease controllability matter?

M. W. J. Huygens, I.C.S. Swinkels, J.D. de Jong, M.J.W.M. Heijmans, R.D. Friele, O.C.P. van Schayck, L.P. Witte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
96 Downloads (Pure)


There is a growing emphasis on self-monitoring applications that allow patients to measure their own physical health parameters. A prerequisite for achieving positive effects is patients’ willingness to self-monitor. The
controllability of disease types, patients’ perceived self-efficacy and health problems could play an essential role in this. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between patients’ willingness to self-monitor and a range of disease and patient specific variables including controllability of disease type, patients’ perceived self-efficacy and health problems.
Data regarding 627 participants with 17 chronic somatic disease types from a Dutch panel of people with chronic diseases have been used for this cross-sectional study. Perceived self-efficacy was assessed using the general self-efficacy scale, perceived health problems using the Physical Health Composite Score (PCS). Participants indicated their willingness to self-monitor. An expert panel assessed for 17 chronic disease types the extent to which patients can independently keep their disease in control. Logistic regression analyses were conducted.
Patients’ willingness to self-monitor differs greatly among disease types: patients with diabetes (71.0%), asthma (59.6%) and hypertension (59.1%) were most willing to self-monitor. In contrast, patients with rheumatism (40.0%),
migraine (41.2%) and other neurological disorders (42.9%) were less willing to self-monitor. It seems that there might be a relationship between disease controllability scores and patients’ willingness to self-monitor. No evidence is found of a relationship between general self-efficacy and PCS scores, and patients’ willingness to self-monitor.
This study provides the first evidence that patients’ willingness to self-monitor might be associated with disease controllability. Further research should investigate this association more deeply and should focus on how disease controllability influences willingness to self-monitor. In addition, since willingness to self-monitor differed greatly among patient groups, it should be taken into account that not all patient groups are willing to self-monitor.
Original languageEnglish
Article number40
JournalBMC Family Practice
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-monitoring of health data by patients with a chronic disease: Does disease controllability matter?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this