The use of e-health and m-health tools in health promotion and primary prevention among older adults: a systematic literature review

Ramon Kampmeijer, Milena Pavlova*, Marzena Tambor, Stanisława Golinowska, Wim Groot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: The use of e-health and m-health technologies in health promotion and primary prevention among older people is largely unexplored. This study provides a systematic review of the evidence on the scope of the use of e-health and m-health tools in health promotion and primary prevention among older adults (age 50+).

METHODS: A systematic literature review was conducted in October 2015. The search for relevant publications was done in the search engine PubMed. The key inclusion criteria were: e-health and m-health tools used, participants' age 50+ years, focus on health promotion and primary prevention, published in the past 10 years, in English, and full-paper can be obtained. The text of the publications was analyzed based on two themes: the characteristics of e-health and m-health tools and the determinants of the use of these tools by older adults. The quality of the studies reviewed was also assessed.

RESULTS: The initial search resulted in 656 publications. After we applied the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 45 publications were selected for the review. In the publications reviewed, various types of e-health/m-health tools were described, namely apps, websites, devices, video consults and webinars. Most of the publications (60 %) reported studies in the US. In 37 % of the publications, the study population was older adults in general, while the rest of the publications studied a specific group of older adults (e.g. women or those with overweight). The publications indicated various facilitators and barriers. The most commonly mentioned facilitator was the support for the use of the e-health/m-health tools that the older adults received.

CONCLUSIONS: E-health and m-health tools are used by older adults in diverse health promotion programs, but also outside formal programs to monitor and improve their health. The latter is hardly studied. The successful use of e-health/m-health tools in health promotion programs for older adults greatly depends on the older adults' motivation and support that older adults receive when using e-health and m-health tools.

Original languageEnglish
Article number290
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Volume16 Suppl 5
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2016


  • Older adults
  • e-health
  • m-health
  • Telemedicine
  • Health promotion
  • Prevention

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