Learning and Use of eHealth among Older Adults Living at Home in Rural and Non-Rural Settings: A Systematic Review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Care policies emphasize deinstitutionalization and aging in place in response to demographic changes. Different
eHealth technologies are one way to achieve this aim. However, there is a need to better understand older adults’needs for eHealth
services, and thus, these health solutions require further exploration.
Objective: The purpose of this systematic literature review is to appraise, synthesize, and summarize the literature on older
adults’ (aged ≥60 years) eHealth learning and use in real home settings, particularly in rural and remote areas, with a focus on
the social and cultural context.
Methods: A systematic search was conducted in January 2020 using 4 academic databases. The studies by means of qualitative
thematic analysis to identify the barriers, enablers, and support practices involved in the domestication process were examined.
In addition, we identified the various meanings attached to eHealth technologies for older adults living in rural and remote areas.
Results: In total, 31 empirical studies published between 2010 and 2020 were included in this review. A total of 17 articles
included participants from rural and remote areas. The most regularly reported barriers related to older adults’ learning to use
and use of eHealth were health-related difficulties, such as cognitive impairment or impaired hearing. The most reported enabler
was the support provided for older adults in learning and use of eHealth. Support mainly comprised older adults’ own digital
competences, which were distributed with their social network. It was found that eHealth technology is needed for rural and
remote areas to facilitate access and reduce logistical barriers to health care services.
Conclusions: The literature review provided information and practical implications for designers, health care providers, and
policy makers. On the basis of these findings, eHealth technologies should be easy to use, and adequate support should be provided
to older adults for use.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere23804
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Volume23
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • aged
  • barrier
  • digital competence
  • deinstitutionalization
  • eHealth
  • home care
  • learning
  • older adult
  • rural health

Field of science

  • Media education

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