Predicting technology usage by health information need of older adults: Implications for eHealth technology

Sabine Theis*, Dajana Schäfer, Christina Bröhl, Katharina Schäfer, Peter Rasche, Mattias Wille, Christopher Brandl, Nicole Jochems, Verena Nitsch, Alexander Mertens

*Corresponding author for this work
7 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Information and communication technology increasingly addresses the information needs patients have regarding their personal health. While an understanding of older adults' needs is crucial for developing successful eHealth technology, user research results hardly apply to different systems. OBJECTIVE: The present study aims at: (1) describing and analysing the context of digital health systems in a general manner, (2) investigating if information need of older adults influences their technology usage to show the relevance of the concept for a general context analysis and (3) testing which demographic variables intervene with their health information need. METHODS: Survey data from a longitudinal study with older adults (N=551) were reported descriptively. After showing a significant relationship during chi-square tests, we quantified the ones between general health information need and technology usage, as well as between general health information need and the demographic variables age, education, chronic diseases and gender by means of (multiple) linear regression models. RESULTS: We predicted older adults' technology usage based on their health information need. The results confirmed this relationship. Higher information need led to a more frequent usage of apps installed on the tablet personal computer (PC), to a frequent use of smartwatches and to the possession of a computer or laptop. Users' education has a higher impact on health information need than amount of chronic diseases, gender and age. CONCLUSIONS: Information need emerged as a useful object for investigation of context and user requirement analysis across different systems: it predicted technology usage so that design recommendations derived from the descriptive gained in importance.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)443-457
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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