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The digital divide in rural and regional communities: a survey on the use of digital health technology and implications for supporting technology use

Version 3 2024-06-20, 00:26
Version 2 2024-06-03, 03:40
Version 1 2024-04-08, 04:38
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-20, 00:26 authored by Hannah JongebloedHannah Jongebloed, Kate AndersonKate Anderson, Natalie WinterNatalie Winter, Lemai NguyenLemai Nguyen, CE Huggins, Feby SaviraFeby Savira, Paul CooperPaul Cooper, Eva YuenEva Yuen, Anna PeetersAnna Peeters, B Rasmussen, Sandeep Reddy, S Crowe, R Bhoyroo, Imran MuhammadImran Muhammad, Anna UgaldeAnna Ugalde
Abstract Objective A digital divide exists for people from rural and regional areas where they are less likely and confident to engage in digital health technologies. The aim of this study was to evaluate the digital health literacy and engagement of people from rural and regional communities, with a focus on identifying barriers and facilitators to using technology. Results Forty adults living in rural/regional areas completed a survey consisting of the eHealth Literacy Scale (eHEALS) with additional items surveying participants’ experience with a range of digital health technologies. All participants had used at least one digital health technology. Most (80%) participants had an eHEALS score of 26 or above indicating confidence in online health information. Commonly reported barriers to digital health technology use centred on product complexity and reliability, awareness of resources, lack of trust, and cost. Effective digital health technology use is becoming increasingly important, there may be a need to prioritise and support people with lower levels of digital health literacy. We present opportunities to support community members in using and accessing digital health technology.

History

Journal

BMC Research Notes

Volume

17

Article number

90

Pagination

1-5

Location

London, Eng.

ISSN

1756-0500

eISSN

1756-0500

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

1

Publisher

BMC