Older adults' acceptance of a community-based telehealth wellness system

Inform Health Soc Care. 2013 Jan;38(1):27-36. doi: 10.3109/17538157.2011.647938. Epub 2012 May 9.


The development of ongoing assessment tools to monitor older adult health and wellness can support improved quality of life and independence. These technologies have often been employed within private residences. Our work describes a telehealth kiosk system implemented within a community setting, which reduces the costs of installing and maintaining individual systems. Though user acceptance of telehealth systems has been studied within the context of home residences, this has yet to be addressed for community-based systems. Older adults in a retirement community were recruited to use a telehealth system including assessment of vital signs and cognitive performance. With a series of focus groups (N = 12, average age 79.3 years), we examined user perceptions of the telehealth kiosk, addressing issues of usability, effectiveness and privacy. Older adults were favorable towards the collection of health monitoring information, recognizing the utility of these data sources. There were issues of usability, especially regarding ergonomics of the telehealth kiosk. We found no concerns over privacy, with some participants expressing increased preference for the social interactions afforded through the community setting. Understanding the social, technical and human factors involved with a community-based telehealth system can inform the design of cost-effective health monitoring systems.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Computers*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Homes for the Aged*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Privacy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telemedicine*
  • User-Computer Interface*
  • Vital Signs
  • Washington