Health Professionals’ Expanding eHealth Competences for Supporting Patients’ Self-Management
Kujala, Sari; Rajalahti, Elina; Heponiemi, Tarja; Hilama, Pirjo (2018)
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An increasing number of new eHealth services that support patients' self-management has changed health professionals' work and has created a need for a new eHealth competence. In this study, we evaluated the health professionals' eHealth competences and training needs in a public health organization in Finland. The target organization's goal was to increase the number of eHealth services provided to patients, and health professionals and their competences were seen as critical for the adoption of services. Data was collected through an online survey of 701 health professionals working in the target organization. Professionals perceived their basic computer skills as good and they were mostly willing to use eHealth services in patient work. However, health professionals need guidance, especially in their patient work in the new eHealth-enabled environment. They were less confident about their competence to motivate and advise patients to use eHealth services and how to communicate with patients using eHealth solutions. The results also imply that eHealth competence is not merely about an individual's skills but that organizations need to develop new working processes, work practices and distribution of work. We suggest that the training and support needs identified be considered in curricula and lifelong learning.