Panel D

Digital Health Literacy - New Directions

The increasing presence of health-related digital media - such as electronic health records, telehealth initiative, mobile health applications, interactive health-related social media and health information websites - invites researchers, practitioners and policy- makers to pay close attention to how the public and patients interact with and uses these resources for promoting their health. Health care organizations and governments often encourage, initiate, and develop digital resources, which require skills in navigation, understanding, appraising, and applying health information. Moreover, due to the ubiquitous nature of digital communication, commercial companies, private individuals, and others also seek to attract the public through digital resources. These resources, are not always entirely supported and initiated by authorized bodies, can often be misleading, and require specific critical and analytical skills. These resources take the form of website information, applications, medical records, social media and monitors/sensors and more. Digital health literacy (DHL), (used interchangeably with the term eHealth literacy), can help to discern the patient and public experience, including the extent to which these resources are apparent, accessible, understood, evaluated, and applied. The recent COVID-19 pandemic showed how important it is for a society to be digitally health literate.

Within the Health Literacy Survey 2019 (HLS19) of the WHO European Region, with 17 countries participating, a new measure of DHL was developed, partly based on existing specific tools and also by building conceptually on the HLS-EU model, definition and instrument. Together with a measurement on general HL, 13 countries participated in measuring DHL. The focus of the panel is on introducing the instrument and presenting selected results on socio-economic and personal determinants, and on health and well-being consequences of Digital Health Literacy. Together with the session participants, the implications of the study results on intervention programs, training and on policy-making shall be discussed and debated.

The increasing presence of health-related digital media - such as electronic health records, telehealth initiative, mobile health applications, interactive health-related social media and health information websites - invites researchers, practitioners and policy-makers to pay close attention to how the public/patients interact with and uses these resources for promoting their health. Health care organizations and governments often encourage, initiate, and develop digital resources, requiring skills for navigation, understanding, appraising, and applying health information. Moreover, due to the ubiquitous nature of digital communication, commercial companies, private individuals, and others also seek to attract the public through digital resources. These can often be misleading, and require specific critical and analytical skills. Digital health literacy (DHL), can help to discern the patient and public experience, including the extent to which these resources are apparent, accessible, understood, evaluated, and applied. The recent COVID-19 pandemic showed how important it is to strive for a digitally health literate society.

x