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Title: Electronic health use in the European Union and the effect of multimorbidity: cross-sectional survey
Author: Lupiáñez Villanueva, Francisco  
Anastasiadou, Dimitra Tatiana  
Codagnone, Cristiano
Nuño Solinís, Roberto
Garcia-Zapirain Soto, Begoña
Others: Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)
Universidad de Deusto
Università degli Studi di Milano
Keywords: multimorbidity
Issue Date: 3-May-2018
Publisher: Journal of Medical Internet Research
Citation: Lupiáñez-Villanueva, F., Anastasiadou, D., Codagnone, C., Nuño-Solinís, R. & Garcia-Zapirain Soto, M. B. (2018). Electronic health use in the European Union and the effect of multimorbidity: cross-sectional survey. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 20(5). doi:10.2196/jmir.7299
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Abstract: Background: Multimorbidity is becoming increasingly common and is a leading challenge currently faced by societies with aging populations. The presence of multimorbidity requires patients to coordinate, understand, and use the information obtained from different health care professionals, while simultaneously striving to distinguish the symptoms of different diseases and self-manage their sometimes conflicting health problems. Electronic health (eHealth) tools provide a means to disseminate health information and education for both patients and health professionals and hold promise for more efficient and cost-effective care processes. Objective: The aim of this study was to analyze the use of eHealth tools, taking into account the citizens' sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, and above all, the presence of multimorbidity. Methods: Cross-sectional and exploratory research was conducted using online survey data from July 2011 to August 2011. Participants included a total of 14,000 citizens from 14 European countries aged 16 to 74 years, who had used an eHealth tool in the past 3 months. The variables studied were sociodemographic variables of the participants, the questionnaire items assessing the frequency of using eHealth tools, the degree of morbidity, and the eHealth adoption gradient. Chi-square tests were conducted to examine the relationship between the sociodemographic and clinical variables of participants and the group the participants were assigned to according to their frequency of eHealth use (eHealth user group). A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) allowed for assessing the differences in the eHealth adoption gradient average between different groups of individuals according to their morbidity level. A two-way between-groups ANOVA was performed to explore the effects of multimorbidity and age group on the eHealth adoption gradient. Results: According to the eHealth adoption gradient, most participants (68.15%, 9541/14,000) were labeled as rare users, with the majority of them (55.1%, 508/921) being in the age range of 25 to 54 years, with upper secondary education (50.3%, 464/921), currently employed (49.3%, 454/921), and living in medium-sized cities (40.7%, 375/921). Results of the one-way ANOVA showed that the number of health problems significantly affected the use of eHealth tools (F2,13996=11.584; P<.001). The two-way ANOVA demonstrated that there was a statistically significant interaction between the effects of age and number of health problems on the eHealth adoption gradient (F4,11991=7.936; P<.001). Conclusions: The eHealth adoption gradient has proven to be a reliable way to measure different aspects of eHealth use. Multimorbidity is associated with a more intense use of eHealth, with younger Internet users using new technologies for health purposes more frequently than older groups with the same level of morbidity. These findings suggest the need to consider different strategies aimed at making eHealth tools more sensitive to the characteristics of older populations to reduce digital disadvantages.
Language: English
ISSN: 1438-8871MIAR
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