Innovation in digital health technologies hampered by inequities

Persistent differences exist in access to, use of and engagement with digital health technologies between communities and areas across Europe, finds a new paper, co-authored by Public Health Wales and WHO/Europe.

Telephone or video consultations, electronic patient portals, and utilising electronic health records are all examples of how digital technologies can improve health care for patients. But the data shows there is currently lower reported use among those with poorer underlying health.

Patterns in access, use and levels of engagement with digital technology vary across populations, with consistent evidence of higher use of digital health technologies in urban areas and in individuals of white ethnic origin and English speakers compared to those from ethnic minorities and those with language barriers.

People with higher education levels and higher economic status used these technologies more, and younger persons tended to use them more than older adults. No clear evidence on inequalities in the engagement with digital health technologies was found despite these being likely to be variable between population groups.

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