University of Oulu

Jarva, E., Oikarinen, A., Andersson, J., Tomietto, M., Kääriäinen, M., & Mikkonen, K. (2023). Healthcare professionals’ digital health competence and its core factors; development and psychometric testing of two instruments. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 171, 104995.

Healthcare professionals’ digital health competence and its core factors : development and psychometric testing of two instruments

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Author: Jarva, Erika1; Oikarinen, Anne1,2; Andersson, Janicke3;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Health Sciences and Technology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Medical Research Center Oulu, Wellbeing Services County of North Ostrobothnia, Oulu, Finland
3Academy of Health and Welfare, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden
4Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-03-22


Background: Healthcare professionals’ digital health competence is an important phenomenon to study as healthcare practices are changing globally. Recent research aimed to define this complex phenomenon and identify the current state of healthcare professionals’ competence in digitalisation but did not include an overarching outlook when measuring digital health competence of healthcare professionals.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to develop and psychometrically validate two self-assessed instruments measuring digital health competence and factors associating with it.

Methods: The study followed three phases of instrument development and validation: 1) conceptualisation and item pool generation; 2) content validity testing and pilot study; and 3) construct validity and reliability testing. The conceptual background of the instruments was based on individual interviews conducted with healthcare professionals (n = 20) and previous systematic reviews. A total of 17 experts assessed the instrument’s content validity. Face validity was evaluated by a group of healthcare professionals (n = 20). Data collection from 817 professionals took place in spring-summer 2022 in nine organisations. Construct validity was confirmed with exploratory factor analysis. Cronbach’s alpha was used to assess the internal consistency of the instruments.

Results: The instrument development and validation process resulted in two instruments: DigiHealthCom and DigiComInf. DigiHealthCom included 42 items in 5 factors related to digital health competence, and DigiComInf included 15 items in 3 factors related to educational and organisational factors associated with digital health competence. The DigiHealthCom instrument explained 68.9 % of the total variance and the factors’ Cronbach alpha values varied between 0.91 and 0.97. The DigiComInf instrument explained 59.6 % of the total variance and the factors’ Cronbach alpha values varied between 0.76 and 0.88.

Conclusions: The two instruments gave valid and reliable results in psychometric testing. The instruments could be used to evaluate healthcare professionals’ digital health competence and associated factors.

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Series: International journal of medical informatics
ISSN: 1386-5056
ISSN-E: 1872-8243
ISSN-L: 1386-5056
Volume: 171
Article number: 104995
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2023.104995
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 316 Nursing
Copyright information: © 2023 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CC BY license (