New article – Using an individual-centered approach to gain insights from wearable data in the Quantified Flu platform: netnography study

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Background: Wearables have been used widely for monitoring health in general, and recent research results show that they can be used to predict infections based on physiological symptoms. To date, evidence has been generated in large, population-based settings. In contrast, the Quantified Self and Personal Science communities are composed of people who are interested in learning about themselves individually by using their own data, which are often gathered via wearable devices.

Objective: This study aims to explore how a cocreation process involving a heterogeneous community of personal science practitioners can develop a collective self-tracking system for monitoring symptoms of infection alongside wearable sensor data.

Methods: We engaged in a cocreation and design process with an existing community of personal science practitioners to jointly develop a working prototype of a web-based tool for symptom tracking. In addition to the iterative creation of the prototype (started on March 16, 2020), we performed a netnographic analysis to investigate the process of how this prototype was created in a decentralized and iterative fashion.

Results: The Quantified Flu prototype allowed users to perform daily symptom reporting and was capable of presenting symptom reports on a timeline together with resting heart rates, body temperature data, and respiratory rates measured by wearable devices. We observed a high level of engagement; over half of the users (52/92, 56%) who engaged in symptom tracking became regular users and reported over 3 months of data each. Furthermore, our netnographic analysis highlighted how the current Quantified Flu prototype was a result of an iterative and continuous cocreation process in which new prototype releases sparked further discussions of features and vice versa.

Conclusions: As shown by the high level of user engagement and iterative development process, an open cocreation process can be successfully used to develop a tool that is tailored to individual needs, thereby decreasing dropout rates.

Link to full text

Greshake Tzovaras, B., Senabre Hidalgo, E., Alexiou, K., Baldy, L., Morane, B., Bussod, I., Fribourg, M., Wac, K., Wolf, G. & Ball, M. (2021). Using an individual-centered approach to gain insights from wearable data in the Quantified Flu platform: netnography study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 23 (9): e28116. https://doi.org/10.2196/28116

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