Diverse recruitment strategies are needed to reduce digital divide: results from a workshop addressing digital divide and effects of pandemic restrictions
In digital health research, those who lack resources or interest to engage in their health, or are unable to use available technology and services, are often excluded. Research recruitment methods may be one reason that certain groups are “un-reached”. This contributes to the “digital divide” . COVID-19 pandemic restrictions further increased the digital divide and recruitment challenges.
Therefore, we need to be more creative in our recruitment methods and channels in order to engage those who are un-reached in digital health research.
Virtual peer workshop to discuss challenges of, and possible solutions for, recruitment of those who are usually un-reached by digital health studies, especially during COVID times.
Seven researchers from five academic fields (mHealth, library sciences, mental health, psychology, business and computer science) participated. The results of the two discussion prompts are presented in (Figures 1 and 2):
These solutions are not new. Simply not used often enough in digital health research. Even as pandemic restrictions are eased, we will continue to use the convenient online solutions that emerged in response to COVID. We must address this to avoid worsening the digital divide and lack of participation.
We as researchers have the opportunity and duty to adapt - to “go to the people” We would like to thank Helse Nord for funding these activities (HNF1444-19).