Wearable Sensors in Primary Care

The focus of this master's thesis was on the preferences of the adult Swiss population regarding the use of wearable sensors in the future primary healthcare. Wearable patient monitoring systems have showed increased research interest in the last years as they have the potential to detect diseases or health complications early and to remotely monitor an existing chronic disease. Unfortunately, patient concerns or preferences with regard to wearable sensors are rarely assessed. The acceptability of wearable sensors can be a driving force, but in its absence, it can also be a major barrier to wider adoption. To increase acceptance of wearable sensors, user preferences should be identified.

The project on the Swiss general population assessed the population’s preferences regarding future primary healthcare. With the partial utilisation of the collected data this thesis aimed to investigate the identified preferences on wearable sensors. Furthermore, the thesis aimed to explain and learn more about the preferences through eight semi-structured interviews. The interviews helped to understand reasons why wearable sensors would or would not be used.

The results of the master’s thesis showed that the preferences tend to be in favour of using wearable sensors in the primary healthcare setting. The most named reason to use a wearable sensor was the increased patient safety associated with early detection of health complications. On the other hand, lack of perceived vulnerability for health problems or the absence of a chronic disease was the main reason against the use of a wearable sensor. In addition, important features of a wearable sensor were identified, which should be small, not flashy and be compatible with everyday activities. ​