The care home sector has great potential to benefit from technological innovations, and to be at the forefront of developing novel digital solutions to improve the experiences of care home residents, their families, and the staff caring for them. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed variability in digital capabilities and longstanding data challenges within the care home sector. Paradoxically, however, it also resulted in increasing use of digital tools and services to support residents and staff. There are, however, a number of barriers to sustained and widespread adoption of digital solutions by care homes. Here, the focus is on foundation level barriers and the groundwork required to overcome them. Using data from three Scottish based studies, foundation level barriers to the adoption of digital tools and services faced by care homes are discussed. These main barriers are the need for robust basic internet connectivity; capabilities for digital data collection; access to data to inform and drive digital solutions; the need for trust in the use of resident data by commercial companies; and the danger that poorly coordinated strategies undermine efforts to build a care home data platform and the digital solutions it can support. Sustained and widespread adoption of digital solutions by care homes will require these foundation level barriers to be addressed. Strong and stable data and digital foundations supported by sector-specific scaffolding are major prerequisites to the widespread adoption of digital solutions by care homes.


© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Cite as

Johnston, L., Koikkalainen, H., Anderson, L., Lapok, P., Lawson, A. & Shenkin, S. 2022, 'Foundation level barriers to the widespread adoption of digital solutions by care homes: Insights from three Scottish studies', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(12), article no: 7407. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19127407

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Last updated: 17 November 2022
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