From “Face to Face” Sessions to Education on Smartphone: What are the Implications for Persons with Chronic Diseases?



The use of digital solutions is rapidly expanding, including for the prospect of reducing social inequalities and geographical disparities as respect to access to health care and therapeutic education. Here, we question the transformations caused by the switching from therapeutic patient education sessions conducted face to face to the use of virtual digital applications developed on smartphones. From the perspective of developing health literacy, we analyse three complementary corpus: 9 in situ observations of educative sessions involving 34 patients, 27 observations of users of tablets with interactive application and 12 semi-structured interviews conducted with adults at home. Switching from face to face education sessions to education proposed on available smartphone application questions the changes of the trainers’ and carers’ roles and postures, the activities of the learners, the continuity of the educational process, and the contexts in which chronic illness is updated. The results obtained here question the development of digital education, while pinpointing numerous precautions to be taken for this development and the practical use of digital technology. Our analysis invite to continue innovations but suggests to accompany the advent of digital technology in the field of health and patient education by well-documented and grounded scientific work.


Adult education, Therapeutic patient education, Health literacy, E-Health, M-health, Chronic diseases


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