"Health Information Technologies in Geriatrics and Gerontology: A Mixed Systematic Review," Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association


Authors: Vedel, Isabelle; Akhlaghpour, Saeed; Vaghefi, Isaac; Bergman, Howard; Lapointe, Liette

Publication: Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, November 2013


Objective: To review, categorize, and synthesize findings from the literature about the application of health information technologies in geriatrics and gerontology (GGHIT).

Materials and Methods: This mixed-method systematic review is based on a comprehensive search of Medline, Embase, PsychInfo and ABI/Inform Global. Study selection and coding were performed independently by two researchers and were followed by a narrative synthesis. To move beyond a simple description of the technologies, we employed and adapted the diffusion of innovation theory (DOI).

Results: 112 papers were included. Analysis revealed five main types of GGHIT: (1) telecare technologies (representing half of the studies); (2) electronic health records; (3) decision support systems; (4) web-based packages for patients and/or family caregivers; and (5) assistive information technologies. On aggregate, the most consistent finding proves to be the positive outcomes of GGHIT in terms of clinical processes. Although less frequently studied, positive impacts were found on patients' health, productivity, efficiency and costs, clinicians' satisfaction, patients' satisfaction and patients' empowerment.

Discussion: Further efforts should focus on improving the characteristics of such technologies in terms of compatibility and simplicity. Implementation strategies also should be improved as trialability and observability are insufficient.

Conclusions: Our results will help organizations in making decisions regarding the choice, planning and diffusion of GGHIT implemented for the care of older adults.