Authors: Hartzler AL, Osterhage K, Demiris G, Phelan EA, Thielke SM, Turner AM
Inform Health Soc Care. 2017 Apr 11;:1-14
BACKGROUND: Older adults apply various strategies to pursue healthy aging, but we know little about their views and use of personal health information to accomplish those ends.
METHODS: As a first step in formulating the role of personal health information management (PHIM) in healthy aging, we explored the perspectives of older adults on health and health information used in their everyday lives through four focus groups with 25 community-dwelling adults aged 60 and over.
RESULTS: We found that the concept of wellness-the holistic and multidimensional nature of health and wellbeing-plays prominently in how older adults think about health and health information. Participants expressed wellness from a position of personal strength, rather than health-related deficits, by focusing on wellness activities for staying healthy through: (1) personal health practices, (2) social network support, and (3) residential community engagement.
CONCLUSION: Although these themes involve personal health information, existing PHIM systems that focus on disease management are generally not designed to support wellness activities. Substantial opportunity exists to fill this wellness support gap with innovative health information technology designed for older adults. Findings carry implications for the design of PHIM tools that support healthy aging and methods for engaging older adults as co-producers of this critical support.