ICT Adoption By People with Disabilities – Findings of a Repeated Cross-Sectional Study – 2003-2015

Friday, 20 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Sabina LISSITSA, Ariel University, Israel
In highly developed health care systems most aspects of health care and the consumer health experience are supported and mediated by a wide array of technological platforms. Research has continually shown that lower e-Health literacy rates are associated with a range of negative health outcomes. It is obvious that in order to benefit from e-Health opportunities or avoid injury due to its non-use, internet adoption and use constitute a necessary condition. The main purpose of the current study is to follow the trends in ICT adoption among the population of Israelis with disabilities (compared to the population without disabilities) from 2003 to 2015 and to identify variations in the socio-demographic characteristics that may predict internet access and digital uses over time.
The current research is based on a repeated cross-sectional study. Study data were collected by means of Annual Social Surveys conducted by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics in the period between 2003 and 2015. The total sample included 95,145 respondents, among them 22,290 respondents with disabilities.
Our findings show that the rate of internet access and digital uses increased continuously among disabled people; however the gap between them and the healthier population was preserved. The more prominent differences between these groups were found in the first level of the digital divide (internet use vs non-use), whereas between-group differences in the second-level digital divide (digital uses) among internet users were moderate. Our findings make it possible to identify disadvantaged groups in which groups with disabilities intersect with additional risk factors: Arabs, religious people, elderly, respondents from low socio-economic backgrounds. The effects of most of these variables did not change in the period under study. The findings of this study have important implications for researchers, educators, practitioners and policy makers who attempt to promote internet use among people with disabilities.