Published On: Wed, Feb 3rd, 2021

Digital-Health Divide Among Older Adults

A study led by Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, in collaboration with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, has shown that there is a significant digital-health divide amongst seniors along the lines of race and/or socioeconomic status. 

According to an FAU press release, the study, which was published in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, highlights a gap in computer ownership, Internet access, and access to digital health information in adults over 60. This disparity could play a factor in individuals ability to register for the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the article, “The odds of owning a computer or having access to the Internet were one-fifth as likely in the African American group as it was for European Americans and one-fourth as likely for the Afro-Caribbean group…”, and the chances of Hispanic Americans having Internet access was one-half that of European Americans. 

Ruth Tappen, Ed.D., R.N., F.A.A.N, lead author and Christine E. Lynn Eminent Scholar, FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, notes “Portals that allow patients access to their electronic health records, decision aids that prepare patients to discuss options with their providers, making telehealth appointments with providers and so forth, needlessly, though unintentionally, excludes, marginalizes, and disenfranchises those who are older, have low incomes, have low health literacy, and/or are members of minority groups.” 

You can read the published study here

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