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Maturitas. 2009 Jul 20;63(3):195-9. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2009.03.023. Epub 2009 May 31.

Health informatics and the delivery of care to older people.

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Health Informatics Centre, Department of learning, informatics, management and ethics, Karolinska Institutet, 17177 Stockholm, Sweden.


In the light of an aging society, effective delivery of healthcare will be more dependent on different technological solutions supporting the decentralization of healthcare, higher patient involvement and increased societal demands. The aim of this article is therefore, to describe the role of health informatics in the care of elderly people and to give an overview of the state of the art in this field. Based on a review of the existing scientific literature, 29 review articles from the last 15 years and 119 original articles from the last 5 years were selected and further analysed. Results show that review articles cover the fields of information technology in the home environment, integrated health information systems, public health systems, consumer health informatics and non-technology oriented topics such as nutrition, physical behaviour, medication and the aging process in general. Articles presenting original data can be divided into 5 major clusters: information systems and decision support, consumer health informatics, emerging technologies, home telehealth, and informatics methods. Results show that health informatics in elderly care is an expanding field of interest but we still do lack knowledge about the elderly person's needs of technology and how it should best be designed. Surprisingly, few studies cover gender differences related to technology use. Further cross-disciplinary research is needed that relates informatics and technology to different stages of the aging process and that evaluates the effects of technical solutions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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