Collaborative help in chronic disease management: supporting individualized problems

TitleCollaborative help in chronic disease management: supporting individualized problems
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsHuh, J, Ackerman, MS
Conference NameProceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer–Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW’12)
Date Published01/02/2012
Keywordsdiabetes, health informatics, health information, QA

Coping with chronic illness disease is a long and lonely journey, because the burden of managing the illness on a daily basis is placed upon the patients themselves. In this paper, we present our findings for how diabetes patient support groups help one another find individualized strategies for managing diabetes. Through field observations of face-to-face diabetes support groups, content analysis of an online diabetes community, and interviews, we found several help interactions that are critical in helping patients in finding individualized solutions. Those are: (1) patients operationalize their experiences to easily contextualize and share executable strategies; (2) operationalization has to be done within the larger context of sharing illness trajectories; and (3) the support groups develop common understanding towards diabetes management. We further discuss how our findings translate into design implications for supporting chronic illness patients in online community settings.