Continuously Healthy, Continuously Used? – A Thematic Analysis of User Perceptions on Consumer Health Wearables

Christian Matt, Moritz Becker, Andreas Kolbeck, Thomas Hess

Abstract


Along with the miniaturization of digital devices, consumer health wearables (CHWs) further decrease the distance between users and devices, allowing users to continuously track their personal health information (PHI). While this provides more control to users, history has shown that users’ potential concerns (e.g. privacy) can lead to devices not meeting users’ expectations and failing market diffusion. The existing literature has mostly focused on particular aspects that could foster or hinder adoption of CHWs but the big picture is still missing. Drawing upon the previous literature, we use a rigorous iterative thematic analysis to provide a comprehensive picture of any potential benefits and deficiencies that users associate with CHWs. We take the example of fitness trackers and conduct 16 semi-structured interviews that help understand the determinants on which users assess the benefits and deficiencies of CHWs related to their continuous usage. We identify 11 subthemes that we can attribute to three main user determinants (perceived benefit, deficiency, and privacy). Our results not only show the failure to meet privacy expectations as a particular potential hindrance factor, we further propose a new theoretical construct (perceived relativity) as well as a novel tracking motive (social tracking), both of which can benefit future research on PHI disclosure. We enable both researchers and practitioners to uncover and visualize user perceptions of fitness trackers, on which future design decisions can be oriented and user expectations be better met.

Keywords


Consumer Health Wearables; Thematic Analysis; Fitness Trackers; Continuous Use; Thematic Map

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Matt, C., Becker, M., Kolbeck, A. and Hess, T. (2019). Continuously Healthy, Continuously Used? – A Thematic Analysis of User Perceptions on Consumer Health Wearables. Pacific Asia Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 11(1), 108-132. doi: 10.17705/1pais.11105