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Social exclusion in the digital age - exploring inequities in the utilisation and accessibility of eHealth technologies 
Trust Saidi (Vrije University Amsterdam)
Nicole Goedhart (Amsterdam UMC)
Jessica Coetzer (Athena Institute)
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Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

In the contemporary era characterized by digitalization, eHealth technologies have gained paramount significance in the healthcare delivery landscape. However, the equitable access to these technologies is impeded by a confluence of technological and socioeconomic obstacles.

Long Abstract:

In an era marked by digitalisation, eHealth technologies have assumed an increasingly pivotal role in the realm of healthcare delivery. While these technological innovations hold substantial promise in terms of enhancing healthcare accessibility and quality, they simultaneously pose a conundrum - the potential to inadvertently exacerbate complex social, economic and cultural differences. The COVID-19 pandemic illuminated and accentuated various facets of social exclusion within the realm of eHealth. For example, the pandemic underscored the existence of a digital divide, where access to eHealth technologies and services was not evenly distributed across the population. Technological and socioeconomic barriers hindered access for different communities, for example, individuals without smartphones or digital literacy faced challenges when attempting to connect with healthcare providers remotely. Those with limited or no access to the internet faced challenges in obtaining vital health information, scheduling telehealth appointments, and accessing online medical resources. These disparities were particularly evident among people with low socio-economic status, cognitive and neurological limitations, and the elderly. This open panel, guided by transdisciplinary research perspectives, seeks to confront the intricacies surrounding the phenomenon of social exclusion in the context of eHealth technologies. The primary objective is to assemble researchers from diverse domains and stimulate comprehensive discussions pertaining to the intricate issue of social exclusion within the purview of eHealth technologies. Focusing on the multifaceted dimensions of this challenge, the panel seeks to examine socioeconomic, geographical, and cultural factors that impose formidable constraints upon access to eHealth technologies. Furthermore, it endeavours to shed light on eHealth initiatives aimed at mitigating social exclusion, sharing invaluable insights on best practices, and unraveling strategies to foster inclusivity.

Accepted papers:

Session 1