Inclusion of Older Adults in Digital Health Technologies to Support Hospital-to-Home Transitions: Secondary Analysis of a Rapid Review and Equity-Informed Recommendations

Kristina Marie Kokorelias, Michelle L.A. Nelson, Terence Tang, Carolyn Steele Gray, Moriah Ellen, Donna Plett, Carlotta Micaela Jarach, Jason Xin Nie, Kednapa Thavorn, Hardeep Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Digital health technologies have been proposed to support hospital-to-home transition for older adults. The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated physical distancing guidelines have propelled a shift toward digital health technologies. However, the characteristics of older adults who participated in digital health research interventions to support hospital-to-home transitions remain unclear. This information is needed to assess whether current digital health interventions are generalizable to the needs of the broader older adult population.

OBJECTIVE: This rapid review of the existing literature aimed to identify the characteristics of the populations targeted by studies testing the implementation of digital health interventions designed to support hospital-to-home transitions, identify the characteristics of the samples included in studies testing digital health interventions used to support hospital-to-home transitions, and create recommendations for enhancing the diversity of samples within future hospital-to-home digital health interventions.

METHODS: A rapid review methodology based on scoping review guidelines by Arksey and O'Malley was developed. A search for peer-reviewed literature published between 2010 and 2021 on digital health solutions that support hospital-to-home transitions for older adults was conducted using MEDLINE, Embase, and CINAHL databases. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and qualitative content analysis. The Sex- and Gender-Based Analysis Plus lens theoretically guided the study design, analysis, and interpretation.

RESULTS: A total of 34 studies met the inclusion criteria. Our findings indicate that many groups of older adults were excluded from these interventions and remain understudied. Specifically, the oldest old and those living with cognitive impairments were excluded from the studies included in this review. In addition, very few studies have described the characteristics related to gender diversity, education, race, ethnicity, and culture. None of the studies commented on the sexual orientation of the participants.

CONCLUSIONS: This is the first review, to our knowledge, that has mapped the literature focusing on the inclusion of older adults in digital hospital-to-home interventions. The findings suggest that the literature on digital health interventions tends to operationalize older adults as a homogenous group, ignoring the heterogeneity in older age definitions. Inconsistency in the literature surrounding the characteristics of the included participants suggests a need for further study to better understand how digital technologies to support hospital-to-home transitions can be inclusive.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere35925
JournalJMIR Aging
Issue number2
StatePublished - 27 Apr 2022


  • aging
  • digital health
  • Digital Hospital
  • digital technology
  • epidemiology
  • gender diversity
  • health intervention
  • home transition
  • older adult population
  • older adults
  • transitions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology
  • Health Informatics
  • Health(social science)


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