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Digital health technologies in a deprived community: a qualitative co-design study.

McVean, Scott


Scott McVean


Chris Yuill


An ever-growing body of literature is recognising the multitude of ways in which digital health technologies are impacting health. In Scotland, healthcare is becoming increasingly digitised. However, access to and usage of digital health technologies is unequal between socioeconomic positions. Despite this, research remains silent on digital health and health inequalities. The present study investigates the health and well-being needs of a deprived community, and how digital health technologies could be implemented to meet those needs. An interpretative, qualitative approach was adopted. Eighteen residents from the deprived community of Raploch, Stirling were recruited. Participants were split into two age cohorts 26-49 (N=4) and 50+ years of age (N=14). Three focus group discussions and a semi-structured interview were used to explore the digital health needs of the residents, using open-ended questions and co-design activities. Grounded theory was used to analyse the transcribed data. The findings revealed that there are a multitude of accessibility and affordability relations that influenced the everyday experience of the residents. The complex assemblage of relations must be understood and addressed if digital health interventions are to be successfully implemented into a deprived community. The study indicated that the co-designed ideas of community hub digital health interventions and digital video consultations could alleviate, rather than exacerbate, health and well-being issues in the community with appropriate support.


MCVEAN, S. 2020. Digital health technologies in a deprived community: a qualitative co-design study. Robert Gordon University, MRes thesis. Hosted on OpenAIR [online]. Available from:

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Mar 3, 2021
Publicly Available Date Mar 3, 2021
Keywords Digital health; Health services; Social inequality; Economic inequality; Health inequality; Scotland
Public URL
Award Date Oct 31, 2020


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