The Amazing Impossibilities of Technology: Factors that Inhibit Participation in Skype™ Based Self-Help Groups

The Amazing Impossibilities of Technology: Factors that Inhibit Participation in Skype™ Based Self-Help Groups

Stein Conradsen (Patient Education Resource Center, Moere and Romsdal Hospital Trust, Volda, Norway)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/IJRQEH.2016040103
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Abstract

A project in Norway attempting to start self-help groups based on Internet video conferencing experienced severe problems in recruiting participants. The article discusses how to interpret the project and compares it to other projects and trials. Theoretical perspectives on self-help and technology in a late modern context contribute to a tentative model of motivation for getting involved in Electronic Self-help Groups (ESGs). Anthony Giddens' contribution on the high modern society is central to our model of motivation. Also, the relationship between technology and social practice discussed by Ian Hutchby plays an important role. Both constrainers and enablers of such practices are considered in the theoretical model. Using this model of motivation, five factors are suggested which may either enable or constrain engagement. These factors are 1) synchronicity, 2) identification, 3) specified diagnosis, 4) organizational trust and 5) accessibility.
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Background

The SIVC project was initiated by a resource group associated with the National Center of Patient Education (NCPE) in Norway. NCPE received a grant from the Norwegian Directorate of Health to carry out the work, and the Patient Education Resource Center (of Central Norway) was given the project management (Selvhjelp på videokonferanse. Sluttrapport, 2009). The project itself was carried out in cooperation among a number of partners; The National Center of Patient Education, The Norwegian Center for Integrated Care and Telemedicine, Volda University College, The National Union of Organizations for Disabled in Norway and The Norwegian Self-help Center (Selvhjelp Norge). It was managed by the Patient Education Resource Center of Helse Sunnmøre.

A number of patient organizations, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and others cooperated to recruit persons for the groups. An Internet site provided the necessary information for both learning how the groups were supposed to work, how to sign up, how to use the technology and other information. For those who did make contact, a package of information, data software, other necessary items, instructions and an agreement for signing was prepared (Selvhjelp på videokonferanse. Sluttrapport, 2009). Despite the efforts made to contact people assumed to be interested, very few signed up, and no groups were initiated.

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