The role of healthcare personnel in motivating and guiding patients in the use of eHealth services
The number of eHealth services supporting patients’ self-care and self-management is increasing. Patients are expected to participate more actively in their care, but nevertheless chronically ill patients use eHealth services less frequently than healthy citizens. The healthcare personnel’s motivation and guidance could increase willingness and capability of patients to use eHealth services.
This article reports a study, which investigates what kind of support patients receive and how patients wish the healthcare personnel to support them in using eHealth services as well as what kind of eHealth services patients want to use in future. The study was conducted in Finland. A total of 397 patients representing three patient organizations for chronic illnesses (heart disease, diabetes or cancer) answered to the online questionnaire.
Most of the respondents had used at least one eHealth service (92%) and the most common purpose was to seek information. eHealth services were mostly used on the patients’ own initiative. Only less than half of the patients (47%) had received information about eHealth services from the healthcare personnel. Even less participants had been encouraged (30%) or advised (21%) how to use these services by the healthcare personnel. The study shows that patients wish for a more active manner from the healthcare personnel in informing about the availability of eHealth services as well as providing guidance and encouragement in using the services. The wishes about future eHealth services were rather modest. Respondents wished for a more versatile digital booking of medical appointments and novel, easy-to-use communication channels with the personnel. The results suggest that it is not only sufficient to increase the number of eHealth services, but also the active patients need more information about eHealth services as well as guidance in their use.
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