Servicescape for Digital Wellness Services for Young Elderly

University dissertation from Åbo : Åbo Akademi University Press

Abstract: In this thesis digital wellness services (DWSs) are in focus. The DWSs are services provided through digital devices, such as smartphones, bracelets, and tablets, by using digital environments such as Internet, cloud services, and websites. They can provide users with information that has an impact on their wellness, such as pulse, nutrition, and training guidance. The focus for this work on DWSs is on the age group of young elderly (60 – 75 years old). They belong to a group who were born long before digital devices and environments emerged and this factor may affect their motivation and willingness to use and benefit from DWSs.This thesis offers a framework for a digital servicescape that enables young elderly to benefit from DWSs. DWSs are produced and offered in digital servicescapes, where the interaction between the service providers and the service users occurs. The interaction can take place in different spaces like fitness studios, shopping malls or banks. DWSs for large groups of young elderly will require an ecosystem of stakeholders to develop, distribute, maintain, support, and further develop these services. An ecosystem builds on policies, strategies, processes, information, technologies, applications and stakeholders, and includes people who build, sell, manage and use the system. In order to understand the ecosystem, it is necessary to have a holistic approach to work out how its context, technology, stakeholders, and use interact with each other. A digital servicescape offers the conceptual basis for the ecosystem to form, evolve, and survive and produces platforms on which it is easy, effective, and productive to access and use DWSs.The described interaction between digital servicescape and DWSs for improved health leads to the research question: How can a digital servicescape enhance young elderly’s use of Digital Wellness Services (DWSs)?In order to answer the research question, the thesis presents different approaches that influence the young elderly’s capabilities and willingness to use and benefit from DWSs. If the young elderly follow recommendations to apply DWSs they will benefit in terms of healthier aging, reduced ill health, and a better quality of life. For developers and providers of DWSs development work will open up business opportunities if they understand the needs and demands of the young elderly. In addition, DWSs can contribute to significant health, social, and economic benefits for society in general. Proactive wellness programs for young elderly will have cumulative effects on the conditions for good health. The digital servicescape is a conceptual framework for future work on actually building the necessary platforms for DWSs.The work on this thesis follows an explorative approach. The data collection was carried out through surveys, literature review, and focus groups after which the data was sorted, analysed and interpreted. As the work progressed, a need arose to obtain insights from additional perspectives with the consequence that the additional data contributed to a deeper knowledge of the young elderly, DWSs and digital servicescape.The young elderly are, as a group, a very large market consisting of almost 100 million people in Europe alone. For the young elderly, digitalisation has been a part of their lives and its development has provided them with new opportunities to communicate. To them the interface on their digital device is where the interaction with a service provider occurs. Behind the interface, a digital servicescape and an ecosystem provide the necessary tools for the young elderly to achieve the wellness they seek. Nevertheless, to understand the target group it is important to consider four wellness dimensions: i) physical wellness, ii) social wellness, iii) emotional wellness, and iv) intellectual wellness. Together, the four dimensions form a holistic wellness approach to motivate young elderly to use DWSs. The research results show that the young elderly need to be motivated to adopt the services offered. Motivation that affects the young elderly is both intrinsic and extrinsic and this should be considered when developing and providing DWSs and digital servicescapes. Therefore, the service providers have to meet the expectations, needs, and demands of the young elderly and develop services that are suited for the target group. However, this is not enough, as this research shows that the young elderly want to be in a context where they feel safe.Information systems offer a basis for communication and interaction with and through digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, and bracelets. The Internet constitutes a platform for service and social interaction. Services offered on the Web, make it possible to do shopping, be entertained, entertain, and be involved in education, research, business and much more. The internet forms an important part of the infrastructure for DWSs and digital servicescapes.An efficient and well-designed DWS and its servicescape can create a win-win-win situation. The first part is the young elderly who can benefit from DWSs by increasing their chances of a longer, healthier, and happier life and thereby achieve wellness. The second win situation concerns the service developers and providers who can build a business by designing well-working DWSs aimed at the young elderly. Finally, the third win situation is about family, friends, and society. Well-designed DWSs can be beneficial for family and friends to help the young elderly to achieve wellness and require less support from family and friends. For society in general, there are financial benefits, as healthier and happier young elderly will reduce the demand for health care and support. Together the three win-win-win scenarios build an opportunity for a better tomorrow for all concerned. This thesis has created a foundation for continued research, testing, and development of DWSs and digital servicescapes. It has shown that there is a need for deeper understanding of the benefits a well-designed servicescape for DWSs can bring to people in general and to the group of young elderly in particular. Furthermore, there is a need for further research in the win-win-win situations when young elderly get access to digital wellness devices. A particularly interesting avenue of research would be to investigate how that digital servicescape could be designed and whether society should provide devices free of charge, at discount or with some other business model.

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