National digital strategies and innovative eHealth policies concerning older adults’ dignity: a document analysis in three Scandinavian countries

Moonika Raja, Ingjerd G. Kymre, Jorunn Bjerkan, Kathleen T. Galvin, Lisbeth Uhrenfeldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scandinavian countries are internationally recognised for leading the way in older adult care and in digitally transforming healthcare. Dignity has become a central value in care for older adults in all three Scandinavian countries. Investigating documents about digitalisation in these countries can offer insights into how the dignity of older adults is impacted by digitally transforming healthcare. This study aims to provide knowledge about digital strategies and eHealth policies concerning older adults' dignity in three Scandinavian countries: Norway, Sweden and Denmark. National-level documents by the Norwegian Directorate of eHealth, the Norwegian Directorate of Health, the Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs and the Danish Ministry of Health concerning older adults were used as data sources. In addition, a systematic search of databases, informed by the Joanna Briggs Institute framework for systematic reviews of text and opinion papers, was undertaken to find relevant papers. All extracts concerning national digital strategies or innovative eHealth policies were deductively coded. Thereafter, extracts concerning older adults were inductively coded using a thematic analytic approach. A total of 26 sources satisfied the inclusion criteria, 14 governmental papers and 12 other papers. The three countries' national digital strategies focused on access to digital technologies and continuous learning for digital skills. The included papers describing national eHealth policies underlined the importance of placing the patient at the centre of healthcare and how digital systems can increase feelings of safety. Both types of documents concerned access to data, digital device security and the human dimension of care. The findings present evidence on Scandinavian countries' national digital strategies and innovative eHealth policies concerning older adults' dignity. The documents describe a lack of digital competence among older adults, resulting disengagement may put their well-being and human dignity at risk. Findings also underline the importance of security and at the same time the human dimension of care: Use of new digital systems must be meaningfully integrated into digital strategies and eHealth policies. All three Scandinavian countries strategies and policies underline the importance of equal access to healthcare services, as thus they promote a stance of dignified care. [Abstract copyright: © 2023. BioMed Central Ltd., part of Springer Nature.]
Original languageEnglish
Article number848
Number of pages15
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Danish Museum of Nursing History for inviting MR to do a study visit and the Danish Nurses Organization for being part in MRs secondment during and after this study. The authors would also like to thank Nord University’s librarian, Vilde Blankvoll, for her contribution, and Nord University’s Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences Research Group Specialized Healthcare for commenting on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

Funding Information:
This project has received funding from the European Union`s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant No. 813928.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, BioMed Central Ltd., part of Springer Nature.


  • eHealth
  • Older adults
  • Document analysis
  • Digital strategies
  • Qualitative
  • Dignity


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