Technology for Older Adults: Maximising Personal and Social Interaction: Exploring Opportunities for eHealth to Support the Older Rural Population with Chronic Pain

Lorna Philip (Corresponding Author), Anne Roberts, Margaret Currie, Alasdair Mort

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eHealth technologies are being promoted by government as an integral part of the future delivery of health and social care services. Demographic ageing is most pronounced in rural areas and eHealth technologies could support care models designed to help the growing number of rural older people living independently in their own homes. Successful deployment of eHealth technologies will depend on a number of factors, including older adults’ receptiveness to and ability to use new technologies. Using a mixed-methods approach we report findings from a survey of Pain Association Scotland members, home visit observations, qualitative interviews with rural older adults with chronic pain and their health and social care providers. We report that rural older adults with chronic pain are receptive to eHealth technologies but caution that these technologies need to be designed and deployed with the needs of specific patient groups in mind. Patients and professionals do not think that opportunities for in-person interaction should be replaced by technology. We suggest that care needs to be taken to ensure that an appropriate balance between the use of eHealth technologies and in-person care is struck.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-193
Number of pages13
JournalScottish Geographical Journal
Issue number3-4
Early online date15 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015



  • health geography
  • rural geography
  • technology
  • eHealth
  • rural
  • older people
  • chronic pain
  • social interaction

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