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Digital adaptability competency for healthcare professionals: a modified explorative e-Delphi study

Bleijenbergh, Roxanne; Mestdagh, Eveline; Timmermans, Olaf; Rompaey, Bart Van; Kuipers, Yvonne J.


Roxanne Bleijenbergh

Eveline Mestdagh

Olaf Timmermans

Bart Van Rompaey


Aim: To establish items of the digital adaptability competency for healthcare professionals.

Background: While the application and deployment of eHealth has continued at a rapid pace, healthcare professionals are expected to keep up and join the digital evolution. The implementation of eHealth requires a change in the healthcare professionals' competencies of which the ability to adapt to technological change is fundamental. There's more needed than just ICT skills, overall competencies to be digitally adaptable between patientcare and the use of eHealth are needed. Today, a distinct and relevant list of items for healthcare professionals related to the competency of digital adaptability is missing.

Design: An exploratory modified e-Delphi study.

Methods: This study was conducted in Flanders, Belgium. An expert group (n = 12) consisting of 2 policymakers of the Belgian federal government, 3 eHealth managers of large organizations in the Belgian healthcare sector, 1 nurse, 1 midwife, 2 health service users and 3 researchers specialized in eHealth research. Through a literature review an initial list of items was developed, consisting of 67 statements. A two-round Delphi survey was performed where experts could rate the relevance of each item. The third round comprised an online meeting, where the expert group discussed the remaining items until agreement was reached to retain, modify, or eliminate the item.

Results: In round 1, eleven items were included to the final document. In round 2, ten items were included. In round 3, the panel unanimously agreed to add six items, one item was modified into two separate items. In total, 29 items were included in the final document.

Conclusions: The rather abstract concept of digital adaptability is now transformed into a more pragmatic concept of 29 items, reflecting the practical competencies of healthcare professionals necessary to be digital adaptable.


Bleijenbergh, R., Mestdagh, E., Timmermans, O., Rompaey, B. V., & Kuipers, Y. J. (2023). Digital adaptability competency for healthcare professionals: a modified explorative e-Delphi study. Nurse Education in Practice, 67, Article 103563.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 14, 2023
Online Publication Date Jan 31, 2023
Publication Date 2023-02
Deposit Date Feb 7, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 1, 2024
Journal Nurse Education in Practice
Print ISSN 1471-5953
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 67
Article Number 103563
Keywords Healthcare professionals, Digital adaptability, Competencies, E-Delphi