TITLE

Examining e-Health Literacy and the Digital Divide in an Underserved Population in Hawai'i

AUTHOR(S)
Connolly, Kathleen Kihmm; Crosby, Martha E.
PUB. DATE
February 2014
SOURCE
Hawaii Journal of Medicine & Public Health;Feb2014, Vol. 73 Issue 2, p44
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Seeking health information is one of the leading uses for the Internet and World Wide Web (WWW). Research has found the amount one beneits from e-Health information (health information from electronic sources) is directly related to the level of e-Health literacy. e-Health literacy is deined as "the ability to seek, ind, understand, and appraise health information from electronic sources and apply the knowledge gained to addressing or solving a health problem." In order to gain a further understanding of the effects and use of technology, the digital divide, and the relationship between technology utilization and health outcomes, focus group interviews were conducted with participants diagnosed with diabetes and currently residing in a Medically Underserved Area. Overall, 25 volunteers participated in the four focus group meetings. Based on the focus group discussions, a general low e-Health literacy rate was identified. This was demonstrated by the lack of access to the Internet and the skills needed to retrieve health information. Of the 25 participants, 64% reported having Internet access at some level, but, only one reported going on the Internet every day. When the barriers to using the Internet were discussed, many participants expressed a lack of knowledge in how to retrieve information. Results of this study further show that having access to technology is not necessarily associated with usage. This dynamic is evolving into a new form of digital divide, gap in information retrieval and usage, versus gap in access. This is the first known study to examine e-Health literacy in an underserved population in Hawai'i. With the proliferation of information and communication technology and the transformation of information retrieval to be mobile and "on demand", a multi-pronged communication and education strategy is needed to explore how technology can improve e-Health literacy and health outcomes among underserved populations.
ACCESSION #
94754040

 

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