The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted individuals’ physical and mental health worldwide. Using data from the Survey of Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) and a comparative approach across European countries, this study investigates the potential protective effect of individual digital skills and eHealth policies in mitigating the pandemic health effects. Our analysis exploits a within-between random effects approach and shows that individuals with null or poor digital skills have a 2.4 % higher likelihood of experiencing a worsening health status and a 4 % higher probability of experiencing mental health issues. At the same time, living in countries characterized by high levels of digitalization minimizes the probability of worsening health status in a range between 1 % and 2.7 %. The protective effect of eHealth policies on mental health status is much stronger. The impact of having poor digital skills is more substantial if one lives in a country where eHealth is widespread. These results show that the rapid advancement of healthcare digitalization could exacerbate healthcare inequality unless accompanied by the development of digital skills among the population.

Complex role of individual digital skills and eHealth policies in shaping health policy

Leporatti, Lucia;Montefiori, Marcello
2024-01-01

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted individuals’ physical and mental health worldwide. Using data from the Survey of Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) and a comparative approach across European countries, this study investigates the potential protective effect of individual digital skills and eHealth policies in mitigating the pandemic health effects. Our analysis exploits a within-between random effects approach and shows that individuals with null or poor digital skills have a 2.4 % higher likelihood of experiencing a worsening health status and a 4 % higher probability of experiencing mental health issues. At the same time, living in countries characterized by high levels of digitalization minimizes the probability of worsening health status in a range between 1 % and 2.7 %. The protective effect of eHealth policies on mental health status is much stronger. The impact of having poor digital skills is more substantial if one lives in a country where eHealth is widespread. These results show that the rapid advancement of healthcare digitalization could exacerbate healthcare inequality unless accompanied by the development of digital skills among the population.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1177355
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