University of Oulu

Isto Huvila, Heidi Enwald, Kristina Eriksson-Backa, Noora Hirvonen, Hai Nguyen, Isabella Scandurra, Anticipating ageing: Older adults reading their medical records, Information Processing & Management, Volume 54, Issue 3, 2018, Pages 394-407, ISSN 0306-4573,

Anticipating ageing : older adults reading their medical records

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Author: Huvila, Isto1; Enwald, Heidi2; Eriksson-Backa, Kristina3;
Organizations: 1Department of ALM, Uppsala University, Sweden, and Information Studies, Åbo Akademi University, Finland
2Information Studies, University of Oulu and Åbo Akademi University, Finland
3Information Studies, Åbo Akademi University, Finland
4Örebro University, Sweden
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2018
Publish Date: 2020-02-04


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.

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Series: Information processing & management
ISSN: 0306-4573
ISSN-E: 1873-5371
ISSN-L: 0306-4573
Volume: 54
Issue: 3
Pages: 394 - 407
DOI: 10.1016/j.ipm.2018.01.007
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 518 Media and communications
616 Other humanities
520 Other social sciences
3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: The analysis was conducted as a part of the Academy of Finland funded research project Taking Health Information Behaviour into Account: implications of a neglected element for successful implementation of consumer health technologies on older adults (HIBA) and as a part of the work of the Swedish DOME research consortium for e-health research. This work has also received funding from FORTE – the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare supports “PACESS” (2016-00623).
Copyright information: © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license