Addressing health literacy in IT – Latest Health Tech News

Health literacy across the world is on the rise, however the rate of improvement is still too low. The average literacy varies from country to country, but all lies below 25% of population.

Given the wide availability of the internet and IT technology globally, it seems intuitive to use it for the purpose of education about health topics. Addressing health literacy concerns is crucial for addressing health inequalities, as well as for the development of new health solutions with correct expectations and nuance in how patients experience them. 

Big data’s role in health literacy

Health literacy and IT are intertwined like never before. Telehealth, remote solutions and overall digitalization of the healthcare sector are playing a major role. This article examines how healthcare providers can utilize the available technologies and enable medical literacy improvement. Data solutions can provide instructions and information exactly when needed and in a way that’s digestible for different kinds of users. Creating a non-judgmental environment, using visualizations, and using plain language are among the recommendations listed for having a more effective communication with patients. 

Read more: Global trends in clinical rRead more: How Can Data Help to Educate Patients and Improve Medical Literacy?

Health literacy for remote care 

Continuing the topic of digital health, this article gives a list of recommendations for addressing digital care issues, especially those related to access and literacy. First, developers must deeply invest into understanding the users’ needs. Second, they should understand health app usage and look at it through a sociodemographic lens, understanding how they can cater to their customer better. Finally, digital literacy should be considered when developing an application.  

Read more: Seizing The Opportunity to Leverage Ai & Ml for Clinical ReseaRead more: Digital Health Literacy & Its Role in Critical & Remote Care

Education and practical tools for farmer mental health initiative

Agriculture-heavy states in the US acknowledge the need for farmer mental health solutions. Combining both telehealth and in-person solutions, the state is developing a Farm Family Resource Initiative which addresses the increase in awareness, as well as access to mental health resources. Mental health literacy is another sector for IT developers to consider. Surely, this is just one of many upcoming initiatives that will try to destigmatize mental health issues and help individuals get the help they need. Providing tools and resources to better understand not only physical, but mental processes that happen within us is crucial for long-term wellbeing. 

Read more: Illinois Dept. of Ag expanding farmer mental health initiatives 

Implementing telehealth mindfully: developers’ guidelines 

Despite the high interest in using digital health, the barriers are high too. Finances, access to technology, tech skill levels and health literacy are stopping individuals from easily adopting the new solutions. To start untangling these issues, telehealth needs to be easy to use for both patients and doctors. Courtney Lyles, PhD has a list of guidelines for those developing health software that help bring equity back into focus. Emphasize that a digital solution is an extension of a given service, not its replacement. Screen patient literacy, as well as technical skills. Provide ongoing technical support for your software, especially if it’s disruptive and novel. 

Read more: How to implement telehealth in your practice with equity in mind

Simplifying patient communication for COVID-19 

Rima Rudd, senior lecturer on health literacy at the Harvard School of Public Health is describing medical literacy not as a characteristic of an individual, but rather as “an interaction between a reader and a text.” IT professionals should understand the importance of making texts (be it documentation, app guides or text within health software) more accessible and removing existing health access barriers. Rima Rudd talks about translating the findings or complex health language into simplified, yet persuasive texts that benefit readers. 

Read more: As COVID Lingers, How Can Health Communications Be Improved? 

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