No eHealth without eInclusion in Europe – Eurostat 2010
December 16, 2010
Recently, EUROSTAT has published the results from ICT usage household survey 2010. I have been analysing these data developing a Digital Health Care Demand in Europe and I would like also to share my analysis of “individuals who used the Internet for seeking health information on injury, disease or nutrition” (European Union 27 Member States), inspired by The Power of Mobile written by Susannah Fox. In my case, I would like to emphasis the raise of the inverse care law 2.0 to justify that there is no eHealth without eInclusion, in other words quoting Europe’s Digital Competitiveness Report 2010:
“In addition, while health-on-the-web may empower in various ways those who have access to the internet, the flip side of this is that those without internet access may become relatively more disadvantaged in health matters. For them, the experience may be more one of disempowerment through inability to take advantage of new opportunities. Factors linked to existing health divides, including lower health literacy and less proactive health attitudes, continue to contribute significantly to unequal health experiences and outcomes among less advantaged socio-economic groups. There is already some evidence that these groups may be experiencing a ‘double jeopardy’ as a result of an intertwining of these traditional health divides with the new digital divides.”
Firstly, since 2004 the percentage of individuals who used the Internet for seeking health information on injury, disease or nutrition (total individuals and individuals who have used the Internet in the last three months) has increased, even though from 2009 we can see a slower increase, specially in those who used the Internet. These trends facilitate the identification of a first gap between users and non-users.
To better capture this gap, I have divided the analysis in two part. On the one hand, considering the total individuals we can see the differences between groups of age and level of education.
Furthermore, we can also identify this gap if we focus on age and education together:
On the other hand, considering individuals who have used the Internet in the last three months, you can see that there is still a difference between groups of age, level of education and both together:
It has to be remarked that most of these trends show that the divides are not going to disappear with time, in some cases these divides will get wider. Therefore some groups may be experiencing a ‘double jeopardy’ as a result of an intertwining of these traditional health divides with the new digital divides. THUS, THERE IS NO eHEALTH WITHOUT eINCLUSION. Social care, Health care, Health Professionals and Social workers may work together and play a role not just in eHealth or on eInclusion but both to avoid ‘double jeopardy’ and the inverse care law 2.0.
Note: I have developed the same analysis for all Member States and the gaps are even wider in some countries.