Background: Technologies have increasing availability and significance in health care. Self-care tools are promoting “positive medicalization” by enabling patients to reclaim their individual agency in health care. In Type 1 Diabetes treatment, health technology is prominent - Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) has been developed to facilitate management of the disease, while easing the emotional burden.
Objective: The objective of the study was to show how technology-led self-care affects individuals, and more specifically, their relationship with their doctor, when they gain agency over their own health care.
Methods: This paper draws on a quantitative study using data from the Jaeb Center for Health Research (USA); it examines the effects of CGM on patients’ everyday lives right after starting the use, and after 6 and 12 months of use. The data also shed light on the role of CGM in reshaping patient-doctor relationships. ANOVA tests and multiple linear regression analysis were conducted (n=451, female: 55%, male: 45%, age: mean 25,04, SD 15.8).
Results: The use of the CGM gives freedom to users, but the CGM causes hassles in their daily lives after 6 months of use. Socio-demographic factors (education level, gender, age) did not play a significant role in the changing patient–doctor relationship.
Conclusion: Despite the burden technology may cause, CGM seems beneficial by easing diabetes management. Regarding the patient-doctor relationship, users seemed unaware of changes despite the great gain in agency. This case offers a way to shift the focus to a more moderate critique of medicalized technologies.
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