Factors That Influence Public Engagement With eHealth: A Literature Review

Int J Med Inform. 2011 Jan;80(1):1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2010.10.017. Epub 2010 Nov 26.

Abstract

Purpose: Public engagement with eHealth is generally viewed as beneficial. However, despite the potential benefits, public engagement with eHealth services remains variable. This article explores reasons for this variability through a review of published international literature.

Methods: A focused search, conducted in January 2009, of three bibliographic databases, MEDLINE, CINAHL and EMBASE, returned 2622 unique abstracts.

Results: Fifty articles met the inclusion criteria for the review. Four main types of eHealth service were identified: health information on the Internet; custom-made online health information; online support; and telehealth. Public engagement with these services appears to depend on a number of factors: characteristics of users; technological issues; characteristics of eHealth services; social aspects of use; and eHealth services in use.

Conclusions: Recommendations for policy makers, developers, users and health professionals, include: targeting efforts towards those underserved by eHealth; improving access; tailoring services to meet the needs of a broader range of users; exploiting opportunities for social computing; and clarifying of the role of health professionals in endorsement, promotion and facilitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Electronic Health Records / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medical Informatics*