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The Latest Hospital Digital Marketing Articles

GreyMatters is your hospital digital marketing guide, with articles on hospital digital marketing best practices, trends, updates and more.

Closing Gaps in Digital Healthcare Literacy with a Screening Tool

Jun 24, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic forced healthcare providers to up their game with providing virtual care options. These options included telehealth, patient portals and mobile health. However, a lack of digital health literacy has become an issue with these platforms. photo of a younger man explaining something on a laptop to an older man

To aid in improving digital health literacy and decrease barriers to digital health options, a recent study was completed. The study, performed by researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, involved 508 adult participants. Study participants included caregivers of children who received care at a pediatric clinic. Additional information about the study participant group included:

  • Almost 90% were women
  • Average age was 34.7 years
  • About 55% of the participants identified English as their primary language
  • 45% had a high school diploma or less
  • Digital access: 37.6% did not own a laptop, 78.9% did not own a desktop computer and 5.9% claimed they did not have internet access. About 41.5% of survey respondents claimed to have not used a health app.

A Digital Health Literacy Scale with three items was developed and tested to help identify patients who don’t benefit from virtual care services. The three items are:

  • I can use applications/programs on my cell phone, computer, or another electronic device on my own (without asking for help from someone else).
  • I can set up a video chat using my cell phone, computer, or another electronic device on my own (without asking for help from someone else).
  • I can solve or figure out how to solve basic technical issues on my own (without asking for help from someone else).

Results from using the scale included:

  • There was a positive association with income and education, i.e., higher income and/or higher education levels had better digital health literacy.
  • English speakers had higher scores that those who spoke Spanish or Arabic.
  • Participants who owned a smartphone or laptop had higher scores than those who did not.
  • digital literacy
  • healthcare literacy
  • virtual healthcare