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 Intelligent maps will help robots navigate in your home
19.06.2018 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council

nachricht Football through the eyes of a computer
14.06.2018 | Universität Konstanz

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Carbon nanotube optics provide optical-based quantum cryptography and quantum computing

19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

How to track and trace a protein: Nanosensors monitor intracellular deliveries

19.06.2018 | Life Sciences

New material for splitting water

19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>