Utilization Barriers and Medical Outcomes Commensurate With the Use of Telehealth Among Older Adults: Systematic Review




Kruse, Clemens S.
Fohn, Joanna
Wilson, Nakia
Patlan, Evangelina Nunez
Zipp, Stephanie
Mileski, Michael

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JMIR Publications


Background: Rising telehealth capabilities and improving access to older adults can aid in improving health outcomes and quality of life indicators. Telehealth is not being used ubiquitously at present. Objective: This review aimed to identify the barriers that prevent ubiquitous use of telehealth and the ways in which telehealth improves health outcomes and quality of life indicators for older adults. Methods:This systematic review was conducted and reported in accordance with the Kruse protocol and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Reviewers queried the following four research databases: Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), PubMed (MEDLINE), Web of Science, and Embase (Science Direct). Reviewers analyzed 57 articles, performed a narrative analysis to identify themes, and identified barriers and reports of health outcomes and quality of life indicators found in the literature.</p> Results: Reviewers analyzed 57 studies across the following five interventions of telehealth: eHealth, mobile health (mHealth), telemonitoring, telecare (phone), and telehealth video calls, with a Cohen κ of 0.75. Reviewers identified 14 themes for barriers. The most common of which were technical literacy (25/144 occurrences, 17%), lack of desire (19/144 occurrences, 13%), and cost (11/144 occurrences, 8%). Reviewers identified 13 medical outcomes associated with telehealth interventions. The most common of which were decrease in psychological stress (21/118 occurrences, 18%), increase in autonomy (18/118 occurrences, 15%), and increase in cognitive ability (11/118 occurrences, 9%). Some articles did not report medical outcomes (18/57, 32%) and some did not report barriers (19/57, 33%). Conclusions: The literature suggests that the elimination of barriers could increase the prevalence of telehealth use by older adults. By increasing use of telehealth, proximity to care is no longer an issue for access, and thereby care can reach populations with chronic conditions and mobility restrictions. Future research should be conducted on methods for personalizing telehealth in older adults before implementation.



telehealth, telemedicine, older adults, barriers, health outcomes, Health Administration


Kruse, C. S., Fohn, J., Wilson, N., Patlan, E. N., Zipp, S., & Mileski, M. (2020). Utilization barriers and medical outcomes commensurate with the use of telehealth among older adults: Systematic review. JMIR Med Inform, 8(8).


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© Clemens Kruse, Joanna Fohn, Nakia Wilson, Evangelina Nunez Patlan, Stephanie Zipp, Michael Mileski.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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