This project is a multidisciplinary study of the practices of self-monitoring using a range of technologies acquired independently of health professionals. Consumer technology for people to monitor or track their own health is a rapidly expanding area. Devices formerly seen only in the clinic, such as blood pressure monitors, are widely available to buy now. Alongside this, there has been an explosion of digital and wearable devices such as fitness trackers and apps. In this context, self-monitoring for health has become an increasingly popular practice, and potentially has great social and cultural significance. Yet comparatively little is known about it. This project is interested in what people actually do when they self-monitor in everyday contexts, how they understand or use any information that results, or how this may or may not integrate with their wider healthcare.
It is claimed that self-monitoring could transform healthcare, promoting self-care and saving costs. This raises important questions about the distribution of responsibilities for health and care, the role of health professionals, and the production, distribution and control of knowledge. We are interested in explore the ways in which people produce data and knowledge through self-monitoring. With whom is it shared, and how is it used? What roles do health care professionals, other organisations, family members and personal networks play in this?
This research is being funded by a Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant, and is a collaborative project between the Universities of Sheffield, Sussex and Brighton.