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Conference Abstracts

Lessons learned from a digital health budget as an innovative way to improve population health: an evaluation study

Author:

Romy Willemsen

Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands, NL
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Abstract

Introduction: The potential of eHealth for health promotion and disease prevention is widely recognized, however, its uptake stays behind.  An experiment was designed to support the uptake and usage of eHealth and to empower individuals to work on their health and vitality, ultimately supporting a more vital society. In the experiment, participants were provided a digital health budget of €100 to purchase preselected, reliable eHealth applications within a digital environment (‘FitKnip’ platform).

Objectives & methods: The current study aimed to scientifically evaluate the concept of providing a digital health budget as an innovative way to improve population health. 

This prospective pre-post interventional study combined quantitative (i.e., surveys and online user data) and qualitative (i.e., focus groups) measures. Individuals were recruited from the general population through various institutions such as municipalities and health insurance companies. Participants completed five online self-report questionnaires with intervals of 60 days. Online focus groups were held with a subsample of participants after 60 and 180 days. Main study parameters were feasibility, acceptability, health empowerment, health outcomes, opportunities for improvement and future implementation.

Key Findings: In total 1651 individuals participated in this study. 41% of the participants purchased one or more applications with their received health budget. Participants evaluated FitKnip as an acceptable and feasible initiative, because it removes financial barriers and only includes preselected reliable applications. User friendliness of FitKnip was rated satisfactory (Client Satisfaction Questionnaire-8 scores M = 19.6 – 20 ; SD = 1.4-1.5), however participants were less satisfied about the amount and type of apps being offered on the platform. They expected more apps and more apps concerning physical health and prevention. Moreover, participants indicated they would like more information about the apps before purchasing to enable a well-informed choice.  No significant changes over time regarding quality of life and experienced stress were found. Participants indicated that FitKnip could potentially help to improve their health and vitality, however that intrinsic motivation and discipline are needed in order to do so.

Conclusions: Citizens and health experts are enthusiastic about the concept of offering a health budget to improve health and well-being of citizens. However, FitKnip needs to be improved in terms of the platform itself. More specifically, it should enable ways to adapt the content to individual needs and preferences.

Implications: Lessons learned from the FitKnip experiment can be used to support development, improvement, and ultimately implementation of proactive preventive care tools to improve population health. An important barrier for implementation of such tools remains challenging because of difficulties in terms of financing systems and reimbursement of preventive care services. 

 

How to Cite: Willemsen R. Lessons learned from a digital health budget as an innovative way to improve population health: an evaluation study. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2022;22(S3):279. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/ijic.ICIC22140
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Published on 04 Nov 2022.

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