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Abstract

Although information technology (IT) is often argued to have the potential to enable greater patient participation in healthcare delivery, how IT empowers patients to take charge of their own health is a less explored area. This study explores how IT-enabled communication plays a significant role in shaping the patients’ psychological empowerment for managing a chronic disease—diabetes. Psychological empowerment reflects a patient’s cognitive response and motivation to manage the disease. Two dimensions of psychological empowerment relevant in the context of chronic disease management (e.g., meaning as manifested through perceived education benefits and self-awareness to enable self-efficacy for effective management) are suggested to have positive effects on life changing interventions and patient satisfaction. We argue that the medium of communication between the patients and providers influences the psychological empowerment. Media reinforcement is, thus, hypothesized to impact the relationship between self-awareness and life changing interventions. The conceptual model is tested using archival data collected from a survey of seventy-eight patients that were involved in diabetes management education programs. The results indicate that rich media enabled by IT can play a significant role in patient empowerment, and influence the outcome of chronic disease management.

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