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A research tool for measuring non-participation of older people in research on digital health
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Division Ageing and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Social Work. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Karolinska Inst, Sweden; Stockholm Univ, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Division Ageing and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8697-1876
2019 (English)In: BMC Public Health, ISSN 1471-2458, E-ISSN 1471-2458, BMC PUBLIC HEALTH, Vol. 19, no 1, article id 1487Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

Healthcare services are being increasingly digitalised in European countries. However, in studies evaluating digital health technology, some people are less likely to participate than others, e.g. those who are older, those with a lower level of education and those with poorer digital skills. Such non-participation in research – deriving from the processes of non-recruitment of targeted individuals and self-selection – can be a driver of old-age exclusion from new digital health technologies. We aim to introduce, discuss and test an instrument to measure non-participation in digital health studies, in particular, the process of self-selection.

Methods

Based on a review of the relevant literature, we designed an instrument – the NPART survey questionnaire – for the analysis of self-selection, covering five thematic areas: socioeconomic factors, self-rated health and subjective overall quality of life, social participation, time resources, and digital skills and use of technology. The instrument was piloted on 70 older study persons in Sweden, approached during the recruitment process for a trial study.

Results

Results indicated that participants, as compared to decliners, were on average slightly younger and more educated, and reported better memory, higher social participation, and higher familiarity with and greater use of digital technologies. Overall, the survey questionnaire was able to discriminate between participants and decliners on the key aspects investigated, along the lines of the relevant literature.

Conclusions

The NPART survey questionnaire can be applied to characterise non-participation in digital health research, in particular, the process of self-selection. It helps to identify underrepresented groups and their needs. Data generated from such an investigation, combined with hospital registry data on non-recruitment, allows for the implementation of improved sampling strategies, e.g. focused recruitment of underrepresented groups, and for the post hoc adjustment of results generated from biased samples, e.g. weighting procedures.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central, 2019. Vol. 19, no 1, article id 1487
Keywords [en]
Digital health; Old age inequality; Social exclusion; Digitalisation; Recruitment; Self-selection; Non-participation
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-162530DOI: 10.1186/s12889-019-7830-xISI: 000496430300001PubMedID: 31703655Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85074723556OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-162530DiVA, id: diva2:1376510
Note

Funding Agencies|Swedish National Science Council; Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (VR-FORTE) [2014-4100]

Available from: 2019-12-09 Created: 2019-12-09 Last updated: 2020-01-22Bibliographically approved

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