The diffusion of innovative diabetes technologies as a fundamental cause of social inequalities in health. The Nord‐Trøndelag Health Study, Norway
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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This study investigates patterns of adoption and diffusion of innovative health technologies by socioeconomic status (SES) in order to assess the extent to which these technologies may be a fundamental cause of health-related inequalities. Quantitative analyses examined SES-based inequalities in the adoption and diffusion of diabetes technologies. Diabetes data from three panels of the NordTrøndelag Health Study (HUNT), Norway, were combined with income and education data. Cross-sectional and longitudinal regression analyses were used to examine relevant inequalities. Cross-sectional analyses suggest often present SESbased gradients in the adoption of diabetes technologies, favouring high-SES groups. Statistically significant differences (p ≤ 0.05) were most often present when technologies were new. In a cohort followed from 1984 to 1997, high SES individuals were more likely to adopt insulin injection technologies but, due to modest sample sizes, these inequalities were not statistically significant after adjusting for age, gender, and duration of illness. Moreover, compared to low SES individuals, high SES individuals are more active users of diabetes technologies. Results suggest that SES-based variations in access and use of innovative health technologies could act as a mechanism through which inequalities are reproduced. This study provides a discussion of mechanisms and a methodological foundation for further investigation.