ITY spring seminar 11.5.2016 – Health information and eServices

This year the spring seminar of the National Society of Information Studies (Informaatiotutkimuksen yhdistys, ITY) was conducted in collaboration with the HIBA-project and with Information Studies, University of Oulu on 11th May at Oulu University. About 30 people participated the event and remote connection was also provided. The title of the seminar was Health information and eServices introducing multidisciplinary aspects on the topic.

Chair of ITY Heidi Enwald presenting wellcomin words

Chair of ITY Heidi Enwald presenting wellcoming words to the seminar

Senior lecturer Kristina Eriksson-Backa (Åbo Akademi University, Information Studies) presented the HIBA project, its research questions, methods and current stage of the research. The practical contribution of the HIBA project aims at understanding human information behavior to provide evidence-based recommendations how consumer health information technologies and their information contents could be designed and tailored to meet consumers’, in particular older adults’ (born 1946-1960), needs and preferences.

 University lecturer Heidi Enwald (University of Oulu, Information Studies ) presented some findings of the recently ended multidisciplinary GASEL (Gamified services for elderly) project. The project was funded by National Technology and Innovation Agency TEKES from 1.1.201 to 30.4.2016. Increasing ageing population’s use of information technology related to health was studied with a population-based questionnaire survey. The questionnaire was posted to 1500 home dwelling people aged 65 or more living in Oulu area. The return rate was 61 percent. The findings indicated that 74,5 % of the respondents had Internet connection at home. The Internet was most frequently (65 %) used for multiple e-Services (e.g. bank, tax services, tickets etc.) and the second popular activity (55,5,%) was to find information for example about timetables, health related aspects etc.  The next popular activities were reading news (49,8%) and using different communication channels  (41,7%, e.g. e-mail, Skype etc.) Regarding to health information there were some gender differences, for example men were more likely to consider that health related stories and articles are too long.

Noora Hirvonen

Noora Hirvonen

University lecturer Noora Hirvonen from Oulu University Information Studies spoke about studies of everyday health information literacy (EHIL) in different groups. Everyday health information literacy refers to competencies to find, to evaluate and to understand health-related information in everyday life situations. An EHIL screening tool (designed by Niemelä et al. 2012) is based on the Medical Library Association’s definition of health information literacy (2003). The EHIL tool is based on self-assessment and aims at identifying people with limited everyday health literacy. The EHIL tool has been piloted with a survey (n=217) in an upper secondary school in Finland in 2012 and further applied in a population of Finnish young men in 2012 and 2013 (n= 1870), with Finnish individuals with high risk for metabolic syndrome in 2013 and 2014 (n= 571) and with Namibian students (n= 271) with an English version of the tool. The comparison of the results indicates that different factors of EHIL seem to be important in different populations. Terminology and reliability of health information sources were important for people with high risk of metabolic syndrome and for Namibian students whereas lack of motivation was important with young Finnish men.

Pasi Karppinen (University of Oulu, Department of Information Processing Science) presented the eHealth service Onnikka which was designed for people with overweight or obesity (BMI 27-35) in a randomized lifestyle intervention study (PrevMetSyn). The study subjects were working-age males and females from the Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District. The study groups A and B had eight (group A) or two (group B) group counselling visits  and the study group C was a control group which used the Onnikka service with no counselling visits. The Onnikka service was designed according to the Persuasive Systems Design (PSD) model (see Oinas-Kukkonen & Harjumaa 2009) containing the elements of primary task support, dialogue support, credibility support and social support. 43 users of Onnikka were interviewed after one year about their user experiences. The results showed that for example self-monitoring, reminders and tunneling were perceived as a beneficial persuasive features among the users. The credibility of the service was perceived high (the institutions behind the service were well known and highly respected) but the need and use for social support was somewhat contradictory. The discussion forum was perceived useful, but it was not actively used by the participants.

Pasi Karppinen

Pasi Karppinen

Hai Nguyen presentation

Hai Nguyen presentation

After the lunch break Hai Nguyen (HIBA researcher at Åbo Akademi University, Information Studies) presented findings from a study of Health Information Technology implementation and success factors in Nordic countries. Health Information Technology (HIT) systems store and retrieve information to support patient care activities, support administrative and financial activities (e.g. patient accounting, payroll, materials management etc.) and provide information and analytical tools to executive decision support systems for purposes of managerial decision-making. Success factors of implementing HIT systems were identified with a literature review and tested with a survey of 91 health care IT managers in the Nordic countries (Denmark 14, Finland 32, Norway 25 and Sweden 20). Some similarities in the Nordic comparison indicate that a more general instrument to define success factors for HIT implementation could be designed.

Associate professor Samantha Adams from Tilburg University Law School (Netherlands) spoke about online rating and recommendations sites in health care. This phenomenon is not yet familiar in Finland, but in USA and some European countries sharing opinions and experiences about hospitals and health clinics is in use. The basic idea is to improve quality of care and patient-centeredness by increasing transparency. However, the usefulness of the sites, ethical issues and true impact on the quality of care are not simple issues and need to be discussed further.

Samantha Adams, Tilburg Law school

Samantha Adams, Tilburg Law school

The slides of the presentations will soon be available at the webpages of  the National Society of Information Studies (Informaatiotutkimuksen yhdistys, ITY)


Niemelä, R., Ek, S., Eriksson-Backa, K. & Huotari, M.-L. (2012). A screening tool for assessing everyday health information literacy. Libri: International Journal of Libraries and Information Services 62(2): 125–134.

Oinas-Kukkonen, H & Harjumaa, M (2009) Persuasive Systems Design: Key Issues, Process Model, and System Features. Communications of the Association for Information Systems. 24(1): 485-500.


Seminaari: Health Information and eServices 

Informaatiotutkimuksen yhdistyksen (ITY ry) kevätseminaari

KE 11.5.2016, klo 9.15-13.30 Oulun yliopisto, TellUs Innovation Arena, Stage-tila

Seminaari järjestetään yhteistyössä Åbo Akademin HIBA-hankkeen ja Oulun yliopiston Informaatiotutkimuksen oppiaineen kanssa. Tilaisuuteen on vapaa pääsy, myös muille kuin ITY:n jäsenille, ei etukäteisilmoittautumista. Tilaisuutta voi seurata myös etänä (ilmoita tästä kiinnostuksesi Heidi Enwaldille viimeistään ma 9.5., ). Seminaari on englanninkielinen. Seminaarin jälkeen samassa tilassa järjestetään yhdistyksen kevätkokous (suomeksi).

First part 9.15-11.00
Welcoming words, Heidi Enwald
Introduction to HIBA-project, Kristina Eriksson-Backa (20 min)
GASEL project: eServices for healthy ageing, Heidi Enwald (20 min)
Everyday health information literacy in different populations, Noora Hirvonen (20 min)
From all the presentations 10 min discussion
Pasi Karppinen: Health Behavior Change Support Systems – Case of Preventing Metabolic Syndrome (20 min + 10 min for discussion)

11.00-11.15 Break

Second part:11.15-12.30
Hai Nguyen: Exploring Health Information Technology implementation success factors – a comparative investigation in Nordic countries (20 min + 10 min for discussion)
Samantha Adams: Questioning the rise of online rating and recommendation sites in healthcare (30 minutes + 10 minutes for discussion)
Closing of the seminar, Heidi Enwald

Pieni tauko ja n. 12.40 alkaen ITY:n kevätkokous samassa tilassa (kesto noin 1 h). Kaikki yhdistyksen toiminnasta kiinnostuneet ovat tervetulleita kokoukseen!

Nordic eHealth 2016 The 21st Finnish National Conference on Telemedicine and eHealth

The participants of Scandinavian Nordic eHealth 2016 conference and the seminar of Finnish Society of Telemedicine and Health cruised onboard of M/S Mariella on the Baltic Sea at 14th to 16th of April 2016.

Finnish Society of Telemedicine and eHealth has been promoting the use of information and communication technology in health care since 1995. This year’s conference theme was digitalisation and experimentation culture that describes quite well ongoing

transformation where digitalisation is challenging health services.
The conference lectures covered topics from EU’s eHealth strategy, and presents the Nordic case studies on the development of digital services.

Head of Unit Tapani Piha, Cross-Border Healthcare & eHealth, EU

The future of Finnish My Kanta and personal health record were introduced.
Delegates of Iceland and Norway enlightened us about the eHealth services and telehealth development in these countries. From the researchers perspective it was also a pleasure to hear about examples of the research done relating to the topic.



Example of the research done at Norway.

In Sweden a large study had been conducted relating to attitudes and opinions on the electronic health record for citizens.
Nordic countries are not alone in struggling with the challenges of eHealth and telemedicine. The seminar participants were told about the eHealth group, established by The Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM), in 2010 for knowledge transfer between the Nordic countries and Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland, to strengthen the Nordic global leadership position in the eHealth area and to raise awareness of eHealth as an instrument for modernisation of the health care systems. In 2012, the eHealth group established a subgroup – The Nordic eHealth Research Network (NeRN) – to develop, test and access a common set of indicators for monitoring eHealth in the region to be used by policy makers and scientific communities in supporting development of Nordic Welfare. The Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) was selected as a coordinator of the network.

Hannele Hyppönen from THL

On the second day of the conference Finnish healthcare projects and companies had their change to present themselves. The conference also included poster sessions, time for social interaction and healthcare-related site visits at Stockholm.

In the poster session also posters of the GASEL-project were presented.

At the conference several awards were delivered. The Finnish National eHealth award was given to PhD Teija Norri-Sederholm for her doctoral thesis “On top of the situation! From information needs to shared knowledge – Emergency response centre operator’s and paramedic field supervisor’s situational awareness”. The work has received a lot of positive media coverage, but it also works well as a reference material for example in the training of emergency response centre operators.

eServices for healthy ageing – GASEL study: final seminar

I have been working as a researcher in multidisciplinary GASEL study ( funded by Tekes in 2014-2016. The project is ending and its final seminar was organized at 9th Feb 2016 in Oulu, Finland. The topic was eServices for healthy ageing.

In the beginning of the seminar the vice leader of GASEL Timo Jämsä and responsible leader Raija Korpelainen introduced the GASEL project and also other research activities among older people in Oulu. At GASEL, information on e.g., special needs of older people and aspects relating to their health have been mapped from existing knowledge (collected at and by a population-based questionnaire survey. The questionnaire was posted to 1500 people aged 65 or more, living in Oulu area and being home dwellers. The return rate was 61 percent (n=918).

GASEL study

The questionnaire included questions relating to attitudes towards health information, health information literacy, personality, life satisfaction, use of exercise technology, fracture and fall history, medications, sleep, social environment, nature relationship, use of information technology, gaming etc. One important issue was physical activity. It is generally known that physical activity has positive effect on health, wellness, ability for independent living, and physical functioning.

At the seminar, project manager Maarit Kangas told us about factors and actors associated with wellbeing of senior citizens. For example, 50 percent of the survey respondents stated that they were moving around more than 2 h/day. From them 45 percent stated being in at least good health and 79 percent stated feeling happy or quite happy.

Researcher Niina Keränen spoke about ICT use and gaming of older people. According to the GASEL survey seniors play games, including digital games. Stigma against gaming in older age was not a major issue for the seniors of GASEL study.

Researcher Milla Immonen shared preliminary results relating to falls and nutrition. Falls are a major problem in western societies and the reasons behind falls are multifactorial. Nutrition is not commonly taken into account in fall prevention (e.g., in interventions), even though naturally nutrition (e.g., malnutrition) affects our wellbeing.  However, according to the results of GASEL study there is a clear connection between falls and nutrition.

Posters presenting results from GASEL study

Posters presenting results from GASEL study

GASEL is a funded by Tekes and therefore erterprises are involved. At the seminar researcher Heidi Similä told about the participatory testing of enterprises products and services. Testing had been done by conducting workshops, focus group evaluation, testing events and expert evaluation. By the means of testing, information about the target groups’ needs and attitudes towards technology, and about issues related to usability and acceptability of new technologies has been collected.

At the seminar my presentation focused on how tailoring can be used in eHealth services and on what kind of results were found in GASEL survey relating to older people´s health information behaviour and attitudes towards health information. Information content of eHealth services and also interface and elements of service can be tailored. Through (computer) tailoring different kind of individuals are provided with different kind of content or elements. E.g., person´s health information literacy level, measured with a short questionaire while logging to the eHealth service, could be used as a basis for tailoring. It would impact on what kind of information, and in what form, would the service provide to the person. The preliminary result of GASEL survey indicate, for example, that men are more likely to consider that health related stories and articles are too long and that Individuals in the oldest age group (80 years or older) are most likely to avoid thinking about exercise.

We had a privilege to hear also two presentations from the collaborators of GASEL study. Professor Lars Nyberg and Margareta Lilja from Luleå University of Technology, Sweden, gave a presentation titled ”Active and safe in old age: postural control and home and social environment issues”. And we ended with a presentation by Mika Luimula from Turku University of Applied Sciences. He told us about their interesting Tekes-funded Gamified Solutions in Healthcare –project.

Nyberg, Lilja and Korpelainen

Lars Nyberg, Margareta Lilja and Raija Korpelainen


Mika Luimula

HIBA continues the work done in GASEL study focusing on users of eHealth services from the viewpoint of Information Studies.

Blog post by Heidi Enwald, researcher in GASEL study and in HIBA project.

Health information matters : everyday health information literacy and behaviour in relation to health behaviour and physical health among young men

Noora Hirvonen's PhD defenceHIBA researcher Noora Hirvonen defended her PhD thesis in information studies “Health information matters : everyday health information literacy and behaviour in relation to health behaviour and physical health among young men” today at the University of Oulu. The dissertation is based on her earlier work in project MOPO. The faculty opponent at the defence was Prof. J. David Johnson from the University of Kentucky. An electronic copy of the thesis can be found online.

About HIBA

Hälsoinformationsbeteende i e-hälsokontext : inverkan av ett negligerat element i framgångsrik implementering av konsumentinriktade hälsoteknologier för äldre vuxna

Ett stigande antal äldre medborgare och en ökande förekomst av långtidssjukdomar tillsammans med betydande samhällsförändringar utmanar hälsovårdssystem i hela världen. Trots optimistiska prognoser har många e-hälsotjänster inte varit framgångsrika i att lansera hållbara innovationer. Utmärkande har varit att skapa e-hälsosystem under antagandet att användaren är medveten om sina hälsorelaterade behov samt är kapabel och intresserad av att möta dessa. För att bli effektiva borde e-hälsotjänsterna skräddarsys och riktas så att de beaktar användarnas hälsoinformationsbeteende i sin helhet med hänsyn till intressen, förmågor och sociokulturell bakgrund. Syftet med projektet HIBA är att forska i hur medborgarnas hälsoinformationsbeteende påverkar användning av konsumentinriktade hälsoteknologier och hur dessa teknologier effektivt kan skräddarsys för äldre vuxna som lider av typ 2 diabetes för att skapa individuellt och samhälleligt mervärde till traditionella hälsovårdstjänster.

HIBA-projektet finansieras av Finlands Akademi.

Taking Health Information Behaviour into Account: implications of a neglected element for successful implementation of consumer health technologies on older adults

The increase in the number of older adults and the incidence of long-term conditions like diabetes coupled with major societal changes are challenging conventional health care around the world. In spite of the promises, many e-health services have not been successful in bringing sustainable innovations. E-health systems have extensively been created assuming that consumers can identify their health needs and have the ability to meet them without taking into account the complexity of everyday life health information behaviour. To be really effective, health information should be tailored to the health information behaviour, including interests, literacy and background, of its users. The aim of HIBA is to study how citizens’ health information behaviour influences the use of consumer health technologies and how these technologies can be effectively tailored for a growing ageing population suffering from a chronic condition (type 2 diabetes) to add value to traditional health services.

HIBA project is funded by the Academy of Finland in 2015-2019.