eHealth and Ageing in Rural Areas: Transforming Everyday Life, Digital Competences, and Technology. (Finland, Italy, Sweden)

Summary and overall aim

Digital health and social care, so-called eHealth, is an emergent phenomenon which is portrayed as a way of managing societal challenges like demographic ageing, relocation from rural areas and increased demands for availability. But yet, there is a lack of research on the real impact and consequences of eHealth, especially in relation to old age users in rural areas. In this collaborative and transnational project, we will explore the changing dynamics of health and social care by empirically and theoretically examining old age users’ use and non-use of “virtual health rooms”, virtual health and social service centres, digital care applications – care apps – and health and social care information online, in rural regions. Using an ethnographic approach, we try to understand (a) the impact of ICTs in the everyday lives of older people; (b) the role of (rural) place; and (c) the relationship between technology and digital competences in relation to older people’s use of eHealth in three different countries: Finland, Italy, Sweden. The final goal is to provide relevant information for policy-makers, to develop eHealth projects that go beyond a technocentric and deterministic approach and consider the real and cultural context of use of digital technologies among elderly.

Project duration and budget

Project duration: 36 months
Project costs: 635.000 €


The consortium consist of 3 partners from 3 countries:

  1. Umeå University (Sweden)
  2. University of Lapland (Finland)
  3. Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy)

Work packages

  • WP1. Management
  • WP2. State of art: the domestication of ICTs in the everyday lives of elderly
  • WP3. State of the art: the role of rural place in ageing and elderly health
  • WP4. State of the art: older service users’ everyday life, digital competences and learning of eHealth technologies in the context of care
  • WP5. Comparative studies of relevant national demographics, social norms, welfare, health policy and health systems
  • WP6. Theoretical model

HARVEST received funds under the JTC 2017 launched by JPI MYBL. JPI MYBL is supported by J-Age II. J-Age II is funded by Horizon2020, the EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation, under Grant Agreement nr643850.
Joint Programming Initiative (JPI)“More Years, Better Lives. A total of 8 projects received funding.