eHealth in geriatric rehabilitation

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Brief description

Research into the feasibility, usability and effectiveness of eHealth in frail elderly people who are rehabilitating in geriatric rehabilitation.


The general expectation is that eHealth will play a major role in the healthcare of the future. The increasing growth of the elderly and the impending shortage of healthcare professionals is putting pressure on the quality, availability and affordability of healthcare. eHealth seems to offer promising possibilities and may therefore offer part of the solution to this care gap. eHealth is now broadly defined and in fact encompasses all forms of digital information and communication aimed at improving and supporting health and healthcare. The potential of eHealth is great in terms of quality improvement and cost reduction. However, there is also a lot that is unclear when it comes to usability and effectiveness of eHealth, as scientific support is often lacking.

Also within geriatric rehabilitation (GR), eHealth probably offers many possibilities. The elderly are increasingly familiar with the use of smartphones and tablets and also appear to be interested in the possibilities of telerehabilitation and apps, for example. Research shows that eHealth can contribute to promoting physical activity, improving walking ability and balance in elderly people living independently. In addition, the use of eHealth among these elderly people appears to be safe, useful and feasible. However, the scientific evidence for the use of eHealth in the GR is still scarce.

In order to offer rehabilitators optimal quality of rehabilitation, it is important for healthcare professionals to be open to and familiar with healthcare technology. Moreover, technologies are succeeding each other more and more rapidly. At the same time, smart and effective technologies often find it difficult their path into practice. The (potential) range of eHealth applications in (geriatric) rehabilitation is also rapidly growing, such as the use of sensors aimed at measuring and monitoring gait patterns, balance and/or movement activity. However, it is difficult for individual practitioners to keep up with these developments and to choose the right applications that suit their patients. As a result, professionals in the GR, such as geriatric specialists, psychotherapists and occupational therapists, are ‘struggling’ with the question of which eHealth applications can be useful for their patients. In short, on the one hand the need for the use of eHealth in geriatric rehabilitation is increasing and the possibilities for this are also growing, but on the other hand developments in the practice of the GR are currently lagging behind.


The aim of this line of research is to increase scientific knowledge on this subject and to support practice in the successful (further) development and implementation of eHealth applications in the treatment domain of the GR.        


To achieve this goal, several studies have been launched. The results of this are widely shared and also summarized in infographics. More information can be found on the separate pages of the EAGER studies.




Other information about supporting research:

SEARCH - Judy Bakker - Utrecht University