Digital phenotyping self-monitoring behaviors for individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus: Observational study using latent class growth analysis

Qing Yang, Daniel Hatch, Matthew J. Crowley, Allison A. Lewinski, Jacqueline Vaughn, Dori Steinberg, Allison Vorderstrasse, Meilin Jiang, Ryan J. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Sustained self-monitoring and self-management behaviors are crucial to maintain optimal health for individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). As smartphones and mobile health (mHealth) devices become widely available, self-monitoring using mHealth devices is an appealing strategy in support of successful self-management of T2DM. However, research indicates that engagement with mHealth devices decreases over time. Thus, it is important to understand engagement trajectories to provide varying levels of support that can improve self-monitoring and self-management behaviors. Objective: The aims of this study were to develop (1) digital phenotypes of the self-monitoring behaviors of patients with T2DM based on their engagement trajectory of using multiple mHealth devices, and (2) assess the association of individual digital phenotypes of self-monitoring behaviors with baseline demographic and clinical characteristics. Methods: This longitudinal observational feasibility study included 60 participants with T2DM who were instructed to monitor their weight, blood glucose, and physical activity using a wireless weight scale, phone-tethered glucometer, and accelerometer, respectively, over 6 months. We used latent class growth analysis (LCGA) with multitrajectory modeling to associate the digital phenotypes of participants’ self-monitoring behaviors based on their engagement trajectories with multiple mHealth devices. Associations between individual characteristics and digital phenotypes on participants’ self-monitoring behavior were assessed by analysis of variance or the Chi square test. Results: The engagement with accelerometers to monitor daily physical activities was consistently high for all participants over time. Three distinct digital phenotypes were identified based on participants’ engagement with the wireless weight scale and glucometer: (1) low and waning engagement group (24/60, 40%), (2) medium engagement group (20/60, 33%), and (3) consistently high engagement group (16/60, 27%). Participants that were younger, female, nonwhite, had a low income, and with a higher baseline hemoglobin A1c level were more likely to be in the low and waning engagement group. Conclusions: We demonstrated how to digitally phenotype individuals’ self-monitoring behavior based on their engagement trajectory with multiple mHealth devices. Distinct self-monitoring behavior groups were identified. Individual demographic and clinical characteristics were associated with different self-monitoring behavior groups. Future research should identify methods to provide tailored support for people with T2DM to help them better monitor and manage their condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere17730
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Digital phenotype
  • Latent class growth analysis
  • Mobile health
  • Self-management
  • Self-monitoring
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Exercise
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/therapy
  • Telemedicine
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A/analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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