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Currently accepted at: JMIR Human Factors

Date Submitted: Jul 14, 2019
Open Peer Review Period: Jul 17, 2019 - Aug 1, 2019
Date Accepted: Jun 20, 2020
(closed for review but you can still tweet)

This paper has been accepted and is currently in production.

It will appear shortly on 10.2196/15492

The final accepted version (not copyedited yet) is in this tab.

Understanding attitudes of clinicians and patients towards a self-management e-health tool for atrial fibrillation (AF): a qualitative study

  • Boon Piang Cher; 
  • Gayatri Kembhavi; 
  • Kai Yee Toh; 
  • Jananie Audimulam; 
  • Wei-Yan Aloysius Chia; 
  • Hubertus J M Vrijhoef; 
  • Yee Wei Lim; 
  • Toon Wei Lim; 



Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common clinically significant heart rhythm disorder and poses a growing disease burden around the world due to a rapidly aging population. A multidisciplinary approach with an emphasis on patient education and self-management has been shown to improve outcomes for AF through engagement of patients in their own care. While electronic tools (e-tools) such as applications (‘apps’) have been proposed to provide patient education and facilitate self-management, there have been few studies to guide the development of these tools in this patient population.


The aim of the study is to explore patients’ and healthcare providers’ perceptions of and attitudes towards the use of e-tools for AF self-management.


Semi-structured qualitative interviews with healthcare providers and patients were conducted to understand the interpretations and expectations of an e-tool that would be used for self-management of AF. Interview data were analysed using an exploratory thematic analysis approach to uncover emergent themes and infer ideas of preferred features in a device. Data from healthcare providers and patients was compared and contrasted.


Both patients and healthcare providers thought that an e-tool would be useful in AF self-management. While both groups favoured educational content and monitoring of blood pressure, patients expressed more passivity towards self-care and an ambivalence towards the use of technology to monitor their medical condition. Instead, they favoured using the app as a means to contact their healthcare providers.


The study provides insights into differing attitudes of patients and healthcare providers towards the use of e-tools for self-care and their starkly different priorities. Understanding patients’ motivations and their needs are key to ensure higher acceptance of such tools.


Please cite as:

Cher BP, Kembhavi G, Toh KY, Audimulam J, Chia WA, Vrijhoef HJM, Lim YW, Lim TW

Understanding attitudes of clinicians and patients towards a self-management e-health tool for atrial fibrillation (AF): a qualitative study

JMIR Human Factors. 20/06/2020:15492 (forthcoming/in press)

DOI: 10.2196/15492


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