Identifying Health Consumers’ eHealth Literacy
The increasing amount of health information available on the Internet highlights the importance of eHealth literacy skills for health consumers.
Low eHealth literacy results in disparities in health consumers’ ability to access and use eHealth information. The purpose of this study was to assess the perceived eHealth literacy of a general health consumer population so that healthcare professionals can effectively address skills gaps in health consumers’ ability to access and use high-quality online health information.
Participants were recruited from three public library branches in a Northeast Florida community. The eHealth Literacy Scale was used. The majority of participants (n = 108) reported they knew how and where to find health information and how to use it to make health decisions; knowledge of what health resources were available and confidence in the ability to distinguish high- from low-quality information was considerably less. The findings suggest the need for eHealth education and support to health consumers from healthcare professionals, in particular, how to access and evaluate the quality of health information.
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