OBJECTIVES: With the worldwide population growing in age, information technology may help meet important needs to prepare and support patients and families for aging. We sought to explore the use and acceptance of information technology for health among the elderly by reviewing the existing literature.
METHODS: Review of literature using PubMed and Google Scholar, references from relevant papers, and consultation with experts.
RESULTS: Elderly people approach the Internet and health information technology differently than younger people, but have growing rates of adoption. Assistive technology, such as sensors or home monitors, may help 'aging in place', but these have not been thoroughly evaluated. Elders face many barriers in using technology for healthcare decision-making, including issues with familiarity, willingness to ask for help, trust of the technology, privacy, and design challenges.
CONCLUSIONS: Barriers must be addressed for these tools to be available to this growing population. Design, education, research, and policy all play roles in addressing these barriers to acceptance and use.