Perspectives of senior citizens and nursing professionals regarding the application of eHealth-solutions in rural areas
Background: Health-care in rural regions is particularly concerned of demographic and structural changes. Challenges like a higher proportion of elderly, an extended shortage of health-care-professionals and a lower life-expectancy compared to urban spaces (1) demand innovative solutions. Digitization in health-care (eHealth) is considered as a strategy to compensate this situation. However, studies have shown that age has an impact on digital divide (2,3). E.g. only 28% aged 65–85 own smartphones (4) and online banking or shopping are rather uncommon (5). Based on this situation, it is important to get insights in perspectives of elderly persons when planning the implementation of eHealth-solutions in rural environments.
Aim: The study aimed to identify key statements on attitudes, needs and desired support regarding the implementation of eHealth-solutions of senior citizens and nursing-professionals living and/or working in rural regions.
Method: An interview-guide was developed and six focus-group-interviews were conducted with 65plus-citizen and nursing-professionals working in rural communities. Afterwards, data analysis were performed with MAXQDA and by qualitative encoding of the transcripted interviews.
Results: Qualitative analyses indicate that interviewees consider eHealth as an important and necessary further development. Nevertheless, senior citizens reported fears about an adequate consideration by decision-makers, potential data misuse and the loss of personal relationships with caregivers and other health-care-providers. A general desire for training was frequently expressed by the interviewed elderly persons. Nursing-professionals reported about their worries regarding a greater workload and “substitution of medical staff”. They furthermore remarked that digital solutions should be interoperable. Possible advantages in terms of “bedside-care” were not perceived at the moment. EHealth-solutions are actually seen in supporting functions within the organisation and documentation of care and in communication between nurses and other health-care-professionals.
Conclusion: The results of the study does not allow a clear statement on Pros and Cons, but demonstrate that senior citizens and nursing-professionals are open-minded about eHealt-solutions. The acceptance of particular solutions should be considered case-dependent. Transparency and support of the target groups is urgently needed and development of specific training-programs along with interoperability of systems are strongly recommended. User- and resource-friendly eHealth-applications also seem to be of great importance.
Literatur1) Robert Koch-Institut (2011) Gesundheitsberichterstattung des Bundes Heft 52 – Sterblichkeit, Todesursachen und Regionale Unterschiede, online,URL: http://www.rki.de/DE/Content/Gesundheitsmonitoring/Gesundheitsberichterstattung/GBEDownloadsT/sterblichkeit.pdf?__blob=publicationFile , Abfrage 01.11.2017
2)Thimm, C. (2013) Digitale Gleichberechtigung der Generationen. Altern in einer mediatisierten Gesellschaft. In: Hüther, M. & Naegele, G. (Hrsg.), Demografiepolitik. Wiesbaden: Springer.
3)Welsch, J. (2002) Die schleichende Spaltung der Wissensgesellschaft. WSI Mitteilungen 4, online, URL: https://www.boeckler.de/cps/rde/xchg/hbs/hs.xsl/wsi-mitteilungen_24063_24074.htm , Abfrage: 04.12.2017
4) Generali Deutschland AG (Hrsg.) (2017) Generali Altersstudie 2017. Wie ältere Menschen in Deutschland denken und leben. Berlin & Heidelberg: Springer.
5) Koch, W. & Frees, B. (2016) Ergebnisse der ARD/ZDF-Onlinestudie 2016 – Dynamische Entwicklung bei mobiler Internetnutzung sowie Audios und Videos. Media Perspektive, 9, 418 – 437.
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