Digital divide older adults’ approach to digital health: an integrative review
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Canterbury Christ Church University, United Kingdom
CNAI Italian Nurses Association, Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A594
There is a growing use of in primary and secondary care facilities of digital health in terms of receiving exam results, repeating prescriptions, health promotion, and disease prevention. There is a general agreement in the literature that this approach is cost-efficient and time efficient for National Health Systems, specific health facilities, and, more generally, for individuals’ health. Due to the demographic change in Europe, there is a high number of older people.. The introduction of technology to improve health promotion and health care provided to citizens must be balanced by a sufficient level of participation and use of the technology itself by all citizens, especially by those who potentially have the most need (older adults).

This integrative review aims to identify the state of the arts across Europe regarding access, use, and confidence in using digital health technology by older people (65+). Three central databases have been interrogated: Pubmed, Cinhal, and EMBASE in the last 5 years. Inclusion criteria were research carried out in English, focused on older people above the age of 65.

The results displayed a frustration perceived by older people in using these tools of which they recognize the usefulness but at the same time need to have perfect mastery. Results show a general difficulty for older people to access hospital portals, due to a need for digital and health literacy and a general lack of confidence about privacy and security in disclosing their data on the internet.

If, on the one hand, these technologies have demonstrated value in the management of some illnesses and in facilitating the patient-health system relationship, these mustnt become a barrier to adequate access to care which is a social determinant of health. A process of education and support for older people should be implemented.