Patients' and Clinicians' Perceived Trust in Internet-of-Things Systems to Support Asthma Self-management: Qualitative Interview Study

Chi Yan Hui, Brian McKinstry, Olivia Fulton, Mark Buchner, Hilary Pinnock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

BACKGROUND: Asthma affects 235 million people worldwide. Supported self-management, including an action plan agreed with clinicians, improves asthma outcomes. Internet-of-things (IoT) systems with artificial intelligence (AI) can provide customized support for a range of self-management functions, but trust is vital to encourage patients' adoption of such systems. Many models for understanding trust exist, some explicitly designed for eHealth, but no studies have used these models to explore trust in the context of using IoT systems to support asthma self-management.

OBJECTIVE: In this study, we aim to use the McKnight model to explore the functionality, helpfulness, and reliability domains of patients' and clinicians' trust in IoT systems to deliver the 14 components of self-management support defined by the PRISMS (Practical Reviews in Self-Management Support) taxonomy.

METHODS: We used think-aloud techniques in semistructured interviews to explore the views of patients and clinicians. Patients were recruited from research registers and social media and purposively sampled to include a range of ages, genders, action plan ownership, asthma duration, hospital admissions, and experience with mobile apps. Clinicians (primary, secondary, and community-based) were recruited from professional networks. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and thematic analysis was used to explore perceptions of the functionality, helpfulness, and reliability of IoT features to support components of supported self-management.

RESULTS: A total of 12 patients and 12 clinicians were interviewed. Regarding perceived functionality, most patients considered that an IoT system had functionality that could support a broad range of self-management tasks. They wanted a system to provide customized advice involving AI. With regard to perceived helpfulness, they considered that IoT systems could usefully provide integrated support for a number of recognized components of self-management support. In terms of perceived reliability, they believed they could rely on the system to log their asthma condition and provide preset action plan advice triggered by their logs. However, they were less confident that the system could operate continuously and without errors in providing advice. They were not confident that AI could generate new advice or reach diagnostic conclusions without the interpretation of their trusted clinicians. Clinicians wanted clinical evidence before trusting the system.

CONCLUSIONS: IoT systems including AI were regarded as offering potentially helpful functionality in mediating the action plans developed with a trusted clinician, although our technologically adept participants were not yet ready to trust AI to generate novel advice. Research is needed to ensure that technological capability does not outstrip the trust of individuals using it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e24127
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2021


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