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Call for funding to help patients access digital health services

Investment will ensure people have equity of access, says a nurse researcher.
Health monitoring

Funding is needed to ensure equity of access to digital health services, such as mobile phone apps, websites and so-called telehealth solutions, a nurse researcher has said.

Edinburgh Napier University lecturer in nursing Siobhan OConnor undertook a study to understand the barriers people face when trying to access digital health services.

Speaking at the RCN International Nursing Research Conference in Oxford yesterday, Ms OConnor said she was interested in how to help people use technology to improve health.

Many barriers

She said some people she interviewed highlighted barriers to using digital health services, which included financial cost, a lack of digital literacy skills, and lack of access to the internet.

Ms OConnor said: Access was one of the biggest things that came up.

One study respondent said:

Funding is needed to ensure equity of access to digital health services, such as mobile phone apps, websites and so-called telehealth solutions, a nurse researcher has said.


Picture: Alamy

Edinburgh Napier University lecturer in nursing Siobhan O’Connor undertook a study to understand the barriers people face when trying to access digital health services.

Speaking at the RCN International Nursing Research Conference in Oxford yesterday, Ms O’Connor said she was interested in how to help people use technology to improve health.

Many barriers

She said some people she interviewed highlighted barriers to using digital health services, which included financial cost, a lack of digital literacy skills, and lack of access to the internet.

Ms O’Connor said: ‘Access was one of the biggest things that came up.’

One study respondent said: ‘I don’t even have 3G. I have no signal on my phone where we are, it is terrible.’

Another said: ‘We imagine there are lots of people out there with iPhones, but some of the population can’t afford them and don’t dare to have them because they get stolen.’

Providing information

Ms O’Connor said investment in technical infrastructure was urgently required, and that patients needed to be better informed about digital health technology, including its risks and benefits.

Another recommendation from the study was that clinical endorsement could help promote digital health services and improve people’s engagement with them.

Follow the conference on Twitter using hashtag #research17


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