University of Oulu

Virtanen, L., Kaihlanen, A.-M., Laukka, E., Gluschkoff, K., & Heponiemi, T. (2021). Behavior change techniques to promote healthcare professionals’ eHealth competency: A systematic review of interventions. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 149, 104432.

Behavior change techniques to promote healthcare professionals’ eHealth competency : a systematic review of interventions

Saved in:
Author: Virtanen, Lotta1; Kaihlanen, Anu-Marja1; Laukka, Elina1,2;
Organizations: 1Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
2Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Department of Psychology and Logopedics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.8 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-03-04


Background: The use of eHealth is rapidly increasing; however, many healthcare professionals have insufficient eHealth competency. Consequently, interventions addressing eHealth competency might be useful in fostering the effective use of eHealth.

Objective: Our systematic review aimed to identify and evaluate the behavior change techniques applied in interventions to promote healthcare professionals’ eHealth competency.

Methods: We conducted a systematic literature review following the Joanna Briggs Institute’s Manual for Evidence Synthesis. Published quantitative studies were identified through screening PubMed, Embase, and CINAHL. Two reviewers independently performed full-text and quality assessment. Eligible interventions were targeted to any healthcare professional and aimed at promoting eHealth capability or motivation. We synthesized the interventions narratively using the Behavior Change Technique Taxonomy v1 and the COM-B model.

Results: This review included 32 studies reporting 34 heterogeneous interventions that incorporated 29 different behavior change techniques. The interventions were most likely to improve the capability to use eHealth and less likely to enhance motivation toward using eHealth. The promising techniques to promote both capability and motivation were action planning and participatory approach. Information about colleagues’ approval, emotional social support, monitoring emotions, restructuring or adding objects to the environment, and credible source are techniques worth further investigation.

Conclusions: We found that interventions tended to focus on promoting capability, although motivation would be as crucial for competent eHealth performance. Our findings indicated that empathy, encouragement, and user-centered changes in the work environment could improve eHealth competency as a whole. Evidence-based techniques should be favored in the development of interventions, and further intervention research should focus on nurses and multifaceted competency required for using different eHealth systems and devices.

see all

Series: International journal of medical informatics
ISSN: 1386-5056
ISSN-E: 1872-8243
ISSN-L: 1386-5056
Volume: 149
Article number: 104432
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2021.104432
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 3141 Health care science
Funding: This review was supported by the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland under Grant [number 327145].
Copyright information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (