Mobile Healthcare in Action: Digital Self-tracking Practices of Students in Russia and Europe
The article contains the results of an empirical study of digital self-tracking practices of students in Russia and Europe in the context of mobile healthcare. Today, digital self-tracking is positioned as the frontier of the trend of digitalization of the medical sphere, and therefore the study of self-monitoring practices in the context of health care is of particular relevance. Students were chosen as the target group of the study, since this social category is the most open to innovation and integrates them faster and easier into their daily lives. The research method was an in-depth interview, the data collection covered the period of 2019-2020. Despite the fact that the focus of our attention is students with different socio-cultural backgrounds, there was no purpose of comparison. On the contrary, the diverse material allowed us to identify universal practices of digital self-tracking. As a result, contrary to expectations, the involvement in the collection and analysis of personal information about various aspects of lifestyle was not directly related to the practices of preserving and maintaining health. The key category for describing the experience of self-tracking is "activity", which is not limited to physical activity, but also involves awareness and the desire to manage their own lives. There is an increase in the importance for young people of those aspects of life that are the objects of observation; they become criteria for assessing the quality of life in general. The presence of chronic diseases of the informant or his or her relatives turns out to be the only factor in the use of digital self-tracking as a way to purposefully take care of their well-being. As a result of the research, the concept of a “digital partner” was proposed, the social functions of tracking devices were described, and conclusions about the features of users’ interaction with gadgets were drawn. The obtained data allows us to conclude that it is not yet necessary to talk about the significant role of digital self-tracking in the process of actual transformations of healthcare.