Digital health competence of healthcare professionals in healthcare settings

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

Markku Larmas auditorium (H1091)

Topic of the dissertation

Digital health competence of healthcare professionals in healthcare settings

Doctoral candidate

Master of Science Erika Jarva

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Medicine, Research Unit of Health Sciences and Technology

Subject of study

Nursing Science


Associate professor Anna Axelin, University of Turku


Professor Kristina Mikkonen, University of Oulu

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Ensuring the digital health competence of healthcare professionals with the support of the work unit and managers

The inevitable and rapidly digitalising healthcare services require new skills from healthcare professionals. Digital health competence is predicted to be one of the key competences needs that will become increasingly important across professional boundaries, now and in the future. The impact of digitalization on competence needs is particularly pronounced in the health sector, where professionals' environments and ways of working have changed significantly in recent years. However, there has been little research on the common digital health competences of healthcare professionals and the factors that influence digital health competence.
The aim of Erika Jarva's (Master of Science) dissertation research was to describe the areas of digital health competence of healthcare professionals and to explain the factors affecting digital health competence in healthcare settings.
A qualitative interview study (n=20) was conducted to investigate the views of healthcare professionals on digital health competence and factors affecting it. In the second phase, self-assessment instruments of digital health competence and aspects associated were developed and psychometrically analysed using cross-sectional data collected from healthcare professionals (n=817). In the third phase, digital health competence profiles were constructed from the cross-sectional data and the impact of different factors on digital health competence was examined.
The areas of digital health competence included human-centred remote counselling competence, attitudes towards digital services and solutions as part of work, ICT competence, competence in utilising and evaluating digital solutions and ethical competence related to digital solutions. Factors influencing digital health competence included the support of management, the impact of organisational practices in supporting the development of digital health competence, and the adoption and influence of colleagues. In addition, professional’s age, year of graduation, professional background, clinical setting, and amount of patient work were found to be associated with self-assessed digital health competence.
The results of the dissertation can be used to identify and assess the digital health competence of healthcare professionals. This enables the needs-based planning, execution and implementation of continuous competence development methods and orientation. The identified areas of digital health competence can also be used in the planning of higher education and applied in the evaluation of the effectiveness of education.
Last updated: 3.5.2024