Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Crossing the digital divide

12.11.2008
Can information technology make health care systems more user-friendly for the most at-risk populations? The Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center offers some answers in a new study for the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

What will motivate the elderly, the chronically ill and the medically underserved to use interactive information technology systems to actively help manage their own health problems? What barriers have prevented people in these groups from using such systems more widely than they have?

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) at Oregon Health & Science University searched the scientific literature for answers. The EPC's report is the first to identify and catalog the factors that influence the use of home computer-based health IT systems by the most at-risk subgroups of the population and to review the evidence on health outcomes attributable to the use of these technologies.

"This report will help us make health information technology more available and accessible to consumers as they use it to become more active in their care," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "I hope the report will be useful to clinicians, policymakers, patient advocates and others who are working to integrate health IT solutions that improve the quality and safety of health care for all Americans."

The review was directed by lead investigator Holly Jimison, Ph.D., an associate professor of medical informatics and clinical epidemiology, OHSU School of Medicine.

"We know," said Jimison, "that health IT systems have the potential for empowering patients to become more active in the care process, which not only can reduce hospitalizations, emergency department use, and overall managed care costs but can improve health outcomes. To successfully incorporate interactive IT into the health care of these subgroups, we need to determine the impact of a wide range of barriers and drivers of health IT use, from motivation, cost, literacy, and education to language, culture, telecommunication infrastructure and access to technology. That's the process this review begins."

Among the study's findings:

The most effective systems are those that provide routine and timely tailored clinical feedback and advice. Patients prefer systems that provide them with information that is specifically tailored for them and is not general in nature.

Patients prefer systems that send them information on devices that fit into their normal daily routine, such as cell phones.

The lack of a perceived benefit is the primary barrier to wider use by patients of interactive IT technologies. When patients did not perceive a potential health benefit or did not trust the advice they were given they were less likely to use the technology.

Issues of access, ease of use, and convenience of technology systems were also found to be key barriers to wider use.

The most frequently used health IT functions are online peer group support bulletin boards and disease self-management tools.

Patients value the anonymity and nonjudgmental nature of interacting with a computer system, especially those with HIV/AIDS or mental disorders.

The review focused on health IT systems where patients or consumers interact with the technology and receive patient-specific information in return. These include home monitoring systems with interactive disease management or self-management technology, educational or decision aid software tailored to the patient's needs, online patient support groups, tailored health reminder systems where interactions are linked with personal health records, and patient-physician e-mail systems. The elderly were defined in the study as those with a mean age greater than 65 years; the chronically ill as those with conditions such as diabetes, asthma, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and mental illness; and the underserved as minorities, low-income populations and those living in medically underserved geographic regions.

The factor most frequently associated with increased use of interactive health IT systems, the study found, is the perception of a real health benefit. Diabetes patients who were able to monitor data feedback perceived improved glycemic control, however with some systems many also found the interactive reminders annoying and intrusive. Asthma patients keeping an electronic diary felt it helped them better manage their disease and gave them a sense of security. Heart failure patients with online access to their medical records valued the reminders it offered of medication dosage changes and lab results.

The most effective disease self-management systems, the study found, are those that provide the patient a complete feedback loop that includes active participation by physicians or other health professionals, a current individual assessment of the patient's health status, and new or adjusted treatment advice when necessary. In a randomized trial of patients with hypertension, for example, 261 patients who used a Web site to report daily monitoring of blood pressure and received biweekly adjustments from a pharmacist kept better control of their blood pressure than patients in a similar sized group who simply monitored their blood pressure and had online access to their medical records and another group who only had a routine briefing on the dangers of hypertension and also had online access to their records.

"As the Institute of Medicine's 2001 report, 'Crossing the Quality Chasm,' made clear, the widespread adoption of many IT applications will require behavioral adaptations on the part of large numbers of clinicians, organizations and patients," said Jimison. "Although health IT has the potential to empower the elderly, the chronically ill and the underserved to be more active in the care process, our study shows there are significant usability and accessibility issues. More than a quarter of all American adults have no online presence, according to a Pew survey. The elderly are at a particular disadvantage. Their needs are seldom explicitly considered by designers of software and hardware technology and they need to be."

Harry Lenhart | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ohsu.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano
20.10.2017 | Brown University

nachricht New software speeds origami structure designs
12.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Single nanoparticle mapping paves the way for better nanotechnology

24.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A quantum spin liquid

24.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Antibiotic resistance: a strain of multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli is on the rise

24.10.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>