Dr. Cheng Lan is a researcher with an interdisciplinary background in Gerontechnology and Public Health, committed to matching technological environments to various facets of an aging population. Her professional and research experience focused on the intersection between health informatics, cutting-edge technology, and the well-being of older people.
Since 2013, she has been actively involved in community service and large-scale initiatives targeted for aging friendly best practices in social inclusion and innovation for Gerontechnology and elderly mental health wellbeing that can be transferred to the wider aging community
Dr. Cheng has extensive experience in Teaching, Research & Partnerships, and social innovation in the university setting. In addition, she is regularly engaged by many government-led age-friendly initiatives. To collect more community-based feedbacks for translational research, she designed and developed a mental health wellbeing platform for elderly integrated care as a social enterprise founder. In addition, she serves as a voluntary member in a number of NGOs focusing on empowering elderly health to generate a wider social impact.
Identifying barriers and social determinants of digital inclusion to tackle elderly health inequalities: Digital health initiatives amid COVID-19 with Sustainability
Cheng Lan, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, China
The impact of COVID-19 has a tremendous effect on all sectors of society globally. Widespread lockdown and preventative measures have isolated individuals, affected the world economy, and limited access to physical and mental healthcare. To meet these unprecedented challenges, Health Information Technology has become an effective health strategy in this age of distancing and therefore a growing population from all walks of life are increasingly harnessing digital health tool to prioritize post-pandemic health and well-being. However, the elderly population, which has been worst affected by both the pandemic and the social distancing measures, has seen the least benefits from these digital solutions. The age based digital divide describes a longstanding inequality in the access to, and skills to make use of new technology. In this regard, Digital Health initiatives plays a critical role in managing elderly holistic primary care and providing prevention measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the elderly’ perception of digital health usage plays a significant role in shaping their confidence and subsequent behaviours, more importantly, it builds up the cornerstone for healthy ageing and equity.
This study aims to synthesize literature on aging barriers to digital health usage, classify and map out these barriers in relation to the usability, sustainability, and equity of elderly digital health by means of an evidence-based framework. Meanwhile, A cross-sectional study was conducted with 50 aged 60 or above Hong Kong residents who participated three digital health initiatives between May 2020 to Feb 2021. The study aims to (1) Assess the level of age-friendliness of digital health service among elderly ; (2) Find solutions to meet the challenge and leverage conceptual translation; (3) Raise public awareness and change the misconception from the public and digital health providers; (4) Cultivate and co-design age-friendly gerontechnology with elderly, care givers, and health professionals; (5) Align health care stakeholders to the needs of older people to achieve elderly health equalities and sustainability
This study performed a scoping review to synthesize and summarize reported physical, mental, and functional age barriers in relation to digital health use. Aging barriers reported in the literature were mapped onto usability aspects to explain their influence on user experience of digital Health. This framework is developed summarizing the evidence on the influence of aging barriers on digital health use experienced by older adults. The study applies this new framework which provides a structured, systematic multi-dimensional needs assessment covering WHO age friendly dimensions. Consultations with elderly care statehooders, face to face focus group, interviews were conducted, questionnaires with self-report answers were analyzed and explained.
This study innovatively provides an elderly-led, people-centred, community-based framework for the exploration of aging barriers and motivations influencing digital health usability and sustainability among elderly population. The social determinants of health framework provide the theoretical underpinnings and allows for further systematic empirical testing and analysis of digital Health usability for the post-covid19. Digital health equity should be incorporated into elderly health ecosystem and should be empowered at the individual, institutional, and social levels.