Leveraging information technology (IT) to improve the treatment and support of patients is a widely studied topic in healthcare. For chronic diseases, such as diabetes, the use of information technology is even more important since its effect extends from a clinic environment to patients’ daily life. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impacts of one widely adopted information technology, the mobile phone, on diabetes treatment, specifically on the complicated process of patients’ health, emotions and compliance.
We leverage a unique longitudinal dataset on diabetes patients’ health status in rural areas of China to study the problem. We also cross-link the dataset with mobile carrier data to further differentiate mobile phone use to phone calls and network use. To address the endogeneity concerns, we apply PSM and a series of instrument variables.
We identify clear evidence that mobile phone use can significantly improve patients’ emotions and compliance, where the effect is generally larger on patients in worse health conditions. While mobile phone calls clearly benefit diabetes patients, we do notice that mobile phone network use has a negative moderating effect with patients’ health condition on improving compliance.
This study not only enriches our theoretical understanding of the role of mobile phones in diabetes management, it also shows the economic benefit of promoting patients’ use of mobile phones, which should be considered by medical care providers and medical policymakers.
Funding: This work is supported by the Major Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (91846201) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71872060, 72071069, 71801069, 71802068).
Zhang, X., Liu, Y., Li, X. and Sun, J. (2022), "Health IT in our daily life: impact of mobile phone use on the emotions and compliance of diabetes patients", Information Technology & People, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITP-06-2020-0390
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