Use of information communication technologies by older people and telemedicine adoption during COVID-19: a longitudinal study

August 12, 2023

Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 2023

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To investigate how information communication technology (ICT) factors relate to the use of telemedicine by older people in Ireland during the pandemic in 2020. Furthermore, the paper tested whether the supply of primary care, measured by General Practitioner’s (GP) accessibility, influenced people’s telemedicine options.


Based on 2 waves from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, a nationally representative sample, multivariate logistic models were applied to examine the association between pre-pandemic use of ICTs and telemedicine usage (GP, pharmacist, hospital doctor), controlling for a series of demographic, health, and socioeconomic characteristics.


Previously reported having Internet access was a statistically positive predictor for telemedicine usage. The availability of high-speed broadband Internet did not exhibit a statistical association. The association was more prominent among those under 70 years old and non-Dublin urban areas. People with more chronic conditions, poorer mental health, and private health insurance had higher odds of using telemedicine during the period of study. No clear pattern between telemedicine use and differential geographic access to GP was found.


The important role of ICT access and frequent engagement with the Internet in encouraging telemedicine usage among older adults was evidenced.


Internet access was a strong predictor for telemedicine usage. We found no evidence of a substitution or complementary relationship between telemedicine and in-person primary care access.