Ageism in applying digitial technology in healthcare: Implications for adoption and actual use

Ittay Mannheim, Y. van Zaalen, Eveline Wouters

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

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Digital technology is perceived as a solution to meet the ‘challenges’ of ageing and promote independent and healthy ageing. This approach, often driven by policymakers, is leading to the vast development of a so-called ‘Age-tech’ market, mainly focused on healthcare technologies. Despite the potential positive outcomes, adoption and actual use of digital healthcare technologies are often low, and chronological age is often considered a barrier to the adoption of digital technology. Yet, the role of ageism in adoption and actual use is overlooked. This chapter discusses the potential theoretical influence of ageism in applying digital technology in care and healthcare. First, the chapter provides an overview of the perception of age in relation to digital technology and the manifestation of ageism in healthcare. It continues by providing recent evidence, from the field and from the authors’ research experience, in an attempt to describe two potential ways in which ageism is related to adoption and actual use of digital healthcare technology: (1) through the perspectives of different stakeholders (older adults, healthcare professionals, caregivers, and designers) and (2) through the design of digital technology. Finally, the chapter discusses possible implications for practice in healthcare, design, research, and policy concerning digital technology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDigital transformations in care for older people
Subtitle of host publicationCritical perspectives
EditorsH. Hirvonen, M. Tammelin, R. Hanninen, E.J. Wouters
ISBN (Electronic)9781003155317
ISBN (Print)9780367725570
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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