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Available tools to evaluate digital health literacy and engagement with eHealth resources: A scoping review

Faux-Nightingale, Alice

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Background As eHealth and use of information and communication technologies (ICT) within healthcare becomes widespread, it is important to ensure that these forms of healthcare are accessible to the users. One factor that is key to accessing eHealth is digital health literacy. Objectives This scoping review assesses available tools that can be used to evaluate digital health literacy. Methods A systematic literature search was made in MEDLINE, CINAHL, APA PsychInfo, Ageline, AMED, and APA PsychArticles to present the tools currently in use to assess digital health literacy. A qualitative synthesis of the evidence was carried out using a data charting form created for this review. Extracted data included details of the population of investigation and digital health literacy tool used. A report was produced following PRISMA-ScR guidelines. Results In total, 53 papers with adult participants and 3 with adolescent participants (aged between 12 and 19 years) were included in the scoping review. 5 questionnaires were identified that measured digital health literacy or attitudes towards the internet, of which the eHealth Literacy Scale (eHEALS) was the most commonly used questionnaire for both adults and children. Two children’s questionnaires were often accompanied by a second task to verify the accuracy of the responses to the eHEALS questions. Conclusions eHEALS is the most commonly used method to assess digital health literacy and assess whether an individual is able to engage actively with eHealthcare or virtual resources. However, care needs to be taken to ensure that its administration does not exclude digitally disadvantaged groups from completing it. Future research would benefit from assessing whether digital health literacy tools are appropriate for use in clinical settings, working to ensure that any scales developed in this area are practical and can be used to support the allocation of resources to ensure that people are able to access healthcare equitably.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 15, 2022
Publication Date 2022-08
Publicly Available Date May 30, 2023
Journal Heliyon
Print ISSN 2405-8440
Publisher Elsevier
Keywords Access to care, Health literacy, Health technology/technology assessment, Information technology, Social deprivation
Publisher URL


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