University of Oulu

Jarva, E., Oikarinen, A., Andersson, J., Tuomikoski, A.-M., Kääriäinen, M., Meriläinen, M., & Mikkonen, K. (2022). Healthcare professionals’ perceptions of digital health competence: A qualitative descriptive study. Nursing Open, 9, 1379– 1393.

Healthcare professionals’ perceptions of digital health competence : a qualitative descriptive study

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Author: Jarva, Erika1; Oikarinen, Anne1; Andersson, Janicke2;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Center for Research on Welfare, Health and Sports, Academy of Health and Welfare, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden
3Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Oulu, Finland
4The Finnish Centre for Evidence-Based Health Care: A Joanna Briggs Institute Centre of Excellence, Oulu, Finland
5Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-07-19


Aims and objectives: This study aims to provide insight into healthcare professionals’ lived experiences of digital health competence with the objective of improving the knowledge of how digital health competence is perceived by healthcare professionals.

Background: Healthcare professionals need to adjust to the digital era to provide quality and ethical care. Previous research has rarely adopted a healthcare professional’s standpoint to describe their perceptions of digital health competence, even though their perspective in how new care practices are designed and implemented is vital.

Design: A qualitative descriptive study.

Methods: Healthcare professionals (nurses and allied health professionals) from versatile healthcare settings were recruited for individual semi-structured interviews in Sweden (n = 5) and Finland (n = 15) (spring 2019-summer 2020). Purposive and convenience sampling was used. Participants’ backgrounds were in the public and private sectors. The interviews were transcribed for inductive content analysis. The SRQR guideline guided the study process.

Results: Healthcare professionals’ perceptions of digital health competence are connected to competence to provide patient-centric care through digital channels, using technology and digital health systems, interacting with the patient through digital means, evaluating what digital health is and combining digital and traditional methods. Professionals’ perceptions of their own digital health competence were divided, with the participants either reporting sufficient competence or perceiving a lack of skills in some specific areas.

Conclusions: Healthcare professionals’ perceptions of digital health competence focus on the ability to provide patient-centric care by evaluating the need and possibilities for using digital health services jointly with more traditional methods. This study provides a sound basis for digital health research, but future studies should focus on elucidating factors which affect digital health competence and competence development.

Relevance to clinical practice: The results of this study can guide healthcare practices and digital health implementation, as well as function as a basis for instrument or theory development. Health care and nursing leaders should enable the resources to hybrid practices in patient-centric care provision.

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Series: Nursing open
ISSN: 2054-1058
ISSN-E: 2054-1058
ISSN-L: 2054-1058
Volume: 9
Issue: 2
Pages: 1379 - 1393
DOI: 10.1002/nop2.1184
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 316 Nursing
113 Computer and information sciences
Copyright information: © 2022 The Authors. Nursing Open published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.