Classifying Health Information Interactions and their Motivations

Some more HIBA findings were presented at the International Conference on Health Information Management Research (ISHIMR) organized online by Linnaeus University and the University of Sheffield. Material for the presentation that focused on developing a classification of the types of interactions with electronic patient portals and health records can be found below.

Abstract

Current research on electronic patient portals and electronic health records shows a broad range of benefits to both patients, healthcare professionals and healthcare when patients are allowed to take part of their medical record information. There are, however, shortcomings in the current knowledge about patients’ and other stakeholders’ information interactions with electronic health record systems and what motivates them to use these. We present a tentative classification of information interactions with an electronic patient portal, the stakeholders involved in the interactions and reasons that motivate patients to interact with electronic health record information. The purpose with the classification scheme is 1) to inform the design of useful health information access systems, and simultaneously to 2) contribute to the broader information interaction research by acting as a first step in developing a more generic classification that brings together information interactions, their stakeholders and stakeholder motivations to engage with information.

HIBA @ ASIS&T-EC Health Information Behaviour Symposium

Results from several past and on-going HIBA studies were featured in a presentation held by Heidi at the Information Science Trends symposium on Health Information behaviour organised by the ASIS&T European Chapter this week.

Abstract

New e-health services and technologies are developed around the world with expectations of multiple individual and system-wide benefits. Even if there is no single reason why many e-health projects have failed to deliver their expected gains, one central contributing factor has been their narrow focus on technology and a failure to understand the use of e-health in the context of citizens’ general health information behaviour. Here we report key findings from the ongoing research project Taking Health Information Behaviour into Account: implications of a neglected element for successful implementation of consumer health technologies on older adults, funded by the Academy of Finland (2015-2020). The project aims at explicating premises for the development of e-health services that are comprehensible, meaningful, and useful in the context of how older adults seek, use and manage information, and more specifically health information, in their everyday lives.

Review study on older adults’ views on e-health

A HIBA project review on earlier literature on older adults’ views on e-health services shows that a heterogeneous body of research exists on older adults’ views on eHealth services. Common themes in the literature include eHealth service uses, enablers and barriers, and outcomes. eHealth service use can have positive outcomes but also negative consequences. The findings show that the methodological approach of the study is linked with the type of findings reported. There seems also to be a positivity bias particularly in quantitative studies.

Citation: Hirvonen, N.; Enwald, H.; Känsäkoski, H.; Eriksson-Backa, K.; Nguyen, H.; Huhta, A.-M. & Huvila, I. Older adults’ views on eHealth services: a systematic review of scientific journal articles. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 2020, 135.

What is usefulness?

A new HIBA article discusses the meaning of usefulness in the context of health information and ehealth use and more broadly how it has been and could be used in information science research. Instead of focussing merely on relevance of information or usability of systems, the focus on usefulness can help to address the user and use (versus e.g. system, content or topic) perspective to engagements with people, services, systems and beyond. The article, available on open access, is based on presentation held in June at CoLIS 10 conference in Ljubljana and published as part of the proceedings that conference in Information Research journal.

Huvila, I.; Enwald, H.; Hirvonen, N. & Eriksson-Backa, K.
The concept of usefulness in library and information science research.
Information Research, 2019, 24(4), paper colis1907.

Abstract: There is not much doubt that information, information services and systems need to be useful. In this light, the relatively lack of conceptual elaboration of the concept of usefulness in the library and information science literature can be regarded as somewhat surprising. This paper provides a conceptual overview of the use of the notion of usefulness in library and information science literature, explicates its relation to key parallel concepts, and on the basis of an empirical vignette in the context of health information research, discusses the potential limits and advantages of referring to usefulness instead of and together with other related concepts. A review of literature relating to the concept of usefulness was conducted to examine how it has been used in library and information science. A close reading of the literature shows an overlap between related concepts but at the same time, diverging foci of interest in and emphasis on what and how information, information services and, for instance, information systems are considered beneficial or suitable for their users and particular uses. There is a need for better conceptual clarity in the literature regarding usefulness and related concepts. The review shows that usefulness can be literally a useful concept for addressing the user and use (versus e.g. system, content or topic) perspective to engagements with people, services, systems and beyond.

Planning the final year of HIBA

The current project group gathered for a two-day work meeting in Turku/Åbo for reviewing  past and planning the forthcoming work during the final year of the HIBA project. Analysis of data from a set of focus group interviews conducted in 2018 is going on and data from a national survey conducted during the summer is about to start. There are several publications reporting new findings from the project coming out during the next few months and the project is also organising a panel session at the forthcoming Association for Information Science and Technology Annual Meeting in Melbourne, Australia on the role of information behaviour technology and service design.

What is usefulness and how to use it?

Noora, Heidi and Isto were participating in the 10th Conceptions in Library and Information Science Conference (CoLIS) in Ljubljana, Slovenia the week before midsummer. Heidi presented together with Isto a co-authored paper with Noora and Kristina titled The concept of usefulness in library and information science research discussing the notion of usefulness and its relation to other concepts and ways of seeing information, systems and services useful and approachable. The study is a part of HIBA project and aims at a better understanding of the different aspects of how e-health services can be experienced useful by their users.

Abstract

Introduction. There is not much doubt that information, information services and systems need to be useful. In this light, the relatively lack of conceptual elaboration of the concept of usefulness in the library and information science literature can be regarded as somewhat surprising.
Method. This paper provides a conceptual overview of the use of the notion of usefulness in library and information science literature, explicates its relation to key parallel concepts, and on the basis of an empirical vignette in the context of health information research, discusses the potential limits and advantages of referring to usefulness instead of and together with other related concepts.
Analysis. A review of literature relating to the concept of usefulness was conducted to examine how it has been used in library and information science.
Results. A close reading of the literature shows an overlap between related concepts but at the same time, diverging foci of interest in and emphasis on what and how information, information services and, for instance, information systems are considered beneficial or suitable for their users and particular uses.
Conclusion. There is a need for better conceptual clarity in the literature regarding usefulness and related concepts. The review shows that usefulness can be literally a useful concept for addressing the user and use (versus e.g. system, content or topic) perspective to engagements with people, services, systems and beyond.

New HIBA publications

HIBA research group has published new results from the project during the past months.

Huvila, I., Hirvonen, N., Enwald, H., & Åhlfelt, R.-M. (2019). Differences in Health Information Literacy Competencies Among Older Adults, Elderly and Younger Citizens. In Kurbanoğlu, S.; Špiranec, S.; Ünal, Y.; Boustany, J.; Huotari, M. L.; Grassian, E.; Mizrachi, D. & Roy, L. (Ed.), Information Literacy in Everyday Life. ECIL 2018. Communications in Computer and Information Science(pp. 136–143). Cham: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-13472-313. Open access post-print of the article.

Abstract: To address the research gap on age-based differences in health information literacy (HIL), we investigated how younger (born 1960-) and older adults (1946-1960), and elderly citizens (-1945) differed from each other by their HIL competencies. Data were collected with an online survey of patients using the Swedish national electronic health record system. Altogether, 2,587 users responded. One-way ANOVA with post hoc tests revealed several differences between the groups: younger adults were less likely to value health information than older adults; older adults and elderly were least likely to compare information from multiple sources and had trouble in determining health information needs; older adults were most likely to have trouble understanding health terminology and the elderly to have difficulties in understanding medicinal package labels. The study shows that HIL is not necessarily improving or declining but adapting to challenges of advanced age.

Huvila, I.; Moll, J.; Enwald, H.; Hirvonen, N.; Åhlfeldt, R.-M. & Cajander, Å. (2019) Age-related differences in seeking clarification to understand medical record informationInformation Research, 24(1), paper isic1834. Open access.

Abstract: Introduction Patient accessible electronic health records can be used to inform and empower patients. However, their use may require complementary information seeking since they can be difficult to interpret. So far, relatively little is known of the information seeking that takes place in connection to health record use, and especially the way it varies in different age groups. A better understanding of patients’ preferences of where and how to find explanatory information provides valuable input for the development of health information provision and counselling services.
Method. The analysis is based on the results of a national survey of Swedish individuals (N=1,411) who had used a national patient accessible electronic health record system (Journalen).
Analysis. The data were analysed in SPSS 24.0 using Kruskal-Wallis tests for detecting group-wise differences and Jonckheere-Terpstra tests for discovering age-related trends in the data.
Findings. Older patients were more likely to use a telephone and younger patients to use social contacts to ask for clarification. Generally, older adults born between 1946-1960 appear as passive information seekers.
Conclusion. Age groups differ in their preferences on how to seek clarification, which underlines the importance of a better understanding of individual differences in delivering not only technically but also intellectually accessible health information. Calling by telephone could be a habit of present older generations whereas, to a degree, searching information online could be a comparable habit of current younger generations.

HIBA at the Finnish Information Studies Symposium 2018

HIBA project is organising a session on health information at the Finnish national Information Studies Symposium 2018 in Turku/Åbo Finland with two papers presenting the findings from the project. Links to extended abstracts of all presentations can be found below.

Hälsoinformation och e-hälsa / Terveystieto ja e-terveys / Health
information and e-health

Anticipating ageing

A new article Anticipating ageing: Older adults reading their medical records (full-text for subscribers) on older adults perceptions of reading their medical record and using e-health services, written in collaboration between HIBA project and researchers of Swedish DOME Consortium has been published in Information Processing & Management. A post-print version of the article can be found at http://www.istohuvila.se/node/560

Abstract

In spite of the general interest in health information behaviour, there is little earlier research on how older adults, who are still active in working life but approaching retirement, differ from other age groups. A survey with Swedish patients who had ordered and read their medical record was conducted to map the preferences and motivations of older adults (born 1946-1960) ordering a copy of their medical record, and using medical records based e-health and information services in the future. The results do not indicate an obvious linear relationship between age and motivation to use online health information but show several differences between the age groups. Older adults were less interested in communication with their medical doctor by e-mail. Yet, they had searched health information in the Internet during the last week more likely than young. They were more inclined to read medical record to get an overview of their health than young, but less confident that they understood most of the content or turn to their family and friends to seek help than the elderly. When compared to younger adults and elderly people, older adults are the least confident and least motivated to use online health information. It is suggested that older adulthood can be seen as a transitory stage of life when the need of health information increases and engagement with health changes. The results agree with prior research on the potential usefulness of (online) medical records as a way to inform citizens. However, specific provision strategies may be necessary to match the needs and motivations of different age groups.