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Determinants of the intention to use e-Health by community dwelling older people.

Veer, A.J.E. de, Peeters, J.M., Brabers, A.E.M., Schellevis, F.G., Rademakers, J.J.D.J.M., Francke, A.L. Determinants of the intention to use e-Health by community dwelling older people. BMC Health Services Research: 2015, 15(103)
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In the future, an increasing number of elderly people will be asked to accept care delivered through the Internet. For example, health-care professionals can provide treatment or support via telecare. But do elderly people intend to use such so-called e-Health applications? The objective of this study is to gain insight into the intention of older people, i.e. the elderly of the future, to use e-Health applications. Using elements of the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT), we hypothesized that their intention is related to the belief that e-Health will help (performance expectancy), the perceived ease of use (effort expectancy), the beliefs of important others (social influence), and the self-efficacy concerning Internet usage.

A pre-structured questionnaire was completed by 1014 people aged between 57 and 77 (response 67%). The hypothesized relationships were tested using nested linear regression analyses.

If offered an e-Health application in the future, 63.1% of the respondents would definitely or probably use it. In general, people with a lower level of education had less intention of using e-Health. The majority of respondents perceived e-Health as easy to use (60.8%) and easy to learn (68.4%), items that constitute the scale for effort expectancy. Items in the performance expectancy scale generally scored lower: 45.8% perceived e-Health as useful and 38.2% perceived it as a pleasant way to interact. The tested model showed that expected performance and effort were highly related to intention to use e-Health. In addition, self-efficacy was related to intention to use while social influence was not.

Acceptance of e-Health can be increased by informing people about the potential benefits of e-Health and letting them practice with the application. Special attention should be paid to people with less education and people who have not used the Internet before.