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J Ment Health. 2012 Aug;21(4):395-403. doi: 10.3109/09638237.2012.689437. Epub 2012 Jun 19.

Can't surf, won't surf: the digital divide in mental health.

Author information

1
Health Services and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK. liam.ennis@kcl.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

New health information technology (HIT) increasingly plays a role in health care as technology becomes cheaper and more widespread. However, there is a danger that those who do not use or have access to technology will not benefit from HIT innovations, thus creating a "digital divide".

AIMS:

To assess the extent to which mental health service users have access to, skills in using and appetite for various technologies.

METHODS:

A cross-sectional survey was used to assess technology use and access patterns of 121 people from community mental health services. Data were analysed using logistic regression.

RESULTS:

Technology use and access were very similar to that of the general population with older individuals reporting less familiarity, access and confidence across a range of technologies. Black, minority and ethnic (BME) groups were more likely to access computers outside of their own homes than white individuals. Older participants experiencing psychosis indicated a desire to increase their computer use.

CONCLUSIONS:

The findings reported here contrast with recent evidence suggesting that those who do not engage with technology are "self-excluders". Furthermore, BME groups may need extra support regarding provision of technology in order to engage with HIT.

PMID:
22712756
PMCID:
PMC3433178
DOI:
10.3109/09638237.2012.689437
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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