University of Oulu

Keränen NS, Kangas M, Immonen M, Similä H, Enwald H, Korpelainen R, Jämsä T Use of Information and Communication Technologies Among Older People With and Without Frailty: A Population-Based Survey J Med Internet Res 2017;19(2):e29 DOI: 10.2196/jmir.5507 PMID: 28196791 PMCID: 5331186

Use of information and communication technologies among older people with and without frailty : a population-based survey

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Author: Keränen, Niina Susanna1,2,3; Kangas, Maarit1,3; Immonen, Milla4,5;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Infotech Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, Oulu, Finland
6Information Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
7Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Oulu Deaconess Institute, Oulu, Finland
8Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: JMIR Publications, 2017
Publish Date: 2017-08-16


Background: Use of information and communication technologies (ICT) among seniors is increasing; however, studies on the use of ICT by seniors at the highest risk of health impairment are lacking. Frail and prefrail seniors are a group that would likely benefit from preventive nutrition and exercise interventions, both of which can take advantage of ICT.

Objective: The objective of the study was to quantify the differences in ICT use, attitudes, and reasons for nonuse among physically frail, prefrail, and nonfrail home-dwelling seniors.

Methods: This was a population-based questionnaire study on people aged 65–98 years living in Northern Finland. A total of 794 eligible individuals responded out of a contacted random sample of 1500.

Results: In this study, 29.8% (237/794) of the respondents were classified as frail or prefrail. The ICT use of frail persons was lower than that of the nonfrail ones. In multivariable logistic regression analysis, age and education level were associated with both the use of Internet and advanced mobile ICT such as smartphones or tablets. Controlling for age and education, frailty or prefrailty was independently related to the nonuse of advanced mobile ICT (odds ratio, OR=0.61, P=.01), and frailty with use of the Internet (OR=0.45, P=.03). The frail or prefrail ICT nonusers also held the most negative opinions on the usefulness or usability of mobile ICT. When opinion variables were included in the model, frailty status remained a significant predictor of ICT use.

Conclusions: Physical frailty status is associated with older peoples’ ICT use independent of age, education, and opinions on ICT use. This should be taken into consideration when designing preventive and assistive technologies and interventions for older people at risk of health impairment.

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Series: Journal of medical internet research
ISSN: 1438-8871
ISSN-E: 1438-8871
ISSN-L: 1438-8871
Volume: 19
Issue: 2
Article number: e29
DOI: 10.2196/jmir.5507
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 213 Electronic, automation and communications engineering, electronics
217 Medical engineering
Funding: This study was performed as part of the GASEL project, funded by the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Grant No. 40270/13), BelleGames Oy, BonWell Intelligence Oy, Caritas foundation, Iscom Oy, Mawell Oy, Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District, Luleå University of Technology, and Oulu Deaconess Institute. The study was also supported by the ASTS joint project by Academy of Finland (Grant No. 270816) and Japan Science and Technology Agency; the iKaaS joint project by the European Union (Grant No. 643262) and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, Japan; Infotech Oulu; and the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
EU Grant Number: (643262) iKaaS - intelligent Knowledge-as-a-Service Platform
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 270816
Detailed Information: 270816 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: ©Niina Susanna Keränen, Maarit Kangas, Milla Immonen, Heidi Similä, Heidi Enwald, Raija Korpelainen, Timo Jämsä. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (, 14.02.2017. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.