201982 Privacy, technology and older adults: Important considerations for public health

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mary Boutain, MPH , School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Indiana University, Bloomington, Bloomington, IN
Lesa Lorenzen Huber, PhD , School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation; Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, Bloomington, IN
Research Objective: Older adults express a desire to remain in their homes as they age. Pervasive technologies have been purported to support seniors to maintain living independently. Ethical Technology in the Homes of Seniors (ETHOS) is a 3-year NSF funded project at Indiana University that proposes to discover issues of privacy surrounding the use of pervasive technology and older adults.

Study Design: Focus groups were conducted with 75 older adults from a community-living environment. Prototypes of a variety of devices were demonstrated for participants that supported health, social connectedness, activities of daily living and safety. Participants were asked a series of questions based on a privacy framework to elicit their opinions about data sharing with family members or healthcare professionals through the phone-line or Internet and general opinions about the prototypes themselves.

Results: Older adults expressed overwhelmingly “usefulness” of the technology was important to them. In addition, a demonstrated need or diagnosis from a healthcare provider would be an important factor before use of pervasive technology would be considered. Preventive use of technology was not a consideration for most participants. Participants were largely unconcerned with privacy in regards to data sharing. Concern regarding technology replacing human contact was also discussed.

Conclusions: In order for older adults to use supportive technologies, need and usefulness must be addressed. Future research should address what factors contribute to self-perceptions of need. Increased education to healthcare providers of possible benefits of using technology to support independent living in older adults should also be addressed

Learning Objectives:
Describe 3 important concerns older adults expressed in using ubiquitous technology in their homes.

Keywords: Technology, Adult Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am part of a research team at Indiana University and this poster is a demonstration of some of the findings of the project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Technology and Aging
See more of: Gerontological Health