08 SES 10, Educational Perspectives on Health Literacy and Action Competence
The world’s Internet penetration rate is approximately 25.6%, which implies that a quarter of the world’s population are Internet users (Han, 2009). Taiwan is currently fifth in Asia in terms of highest internet usage and has an internet penetration ratio of 65.90% (Han, 2009).
The eHealth Action Plan 2012-2020 identified the lack of awareness of eHealth opportunities among users as one of the barriers to the acceptance of eHealth solutions, and proposed to support activities aimed at increasing citizens’ eHealth literacy (European Commission, Directorate-General Communication Networks, Content and Technology, 2014). In this report on the 28 EU countries, of the 26,566 respondents from different EU countries, 59% used the Internet in the previous year to retrieve health information, 25% used it to access relevant health information, while 92% said they might use the health information. Thus, even if the individual possessed little knowledge of the eHealth information, it was still possible to take appropriate action. In this age of information, where a vast amount of health information can be obtained from the internet, the impact on the individual cannot be ignored. However, the credibility and accuracy of online information is questionable, and people may lack background knowledge to interpret these messages, thus generating risks through self-diagnosis and treatment (Hsu, Chen, & Ho, 2011).
As more people use the Internet or mobile devices, eHealth literacy continues to be an important issue in health promotion. eHealth literacy system users use the Internet to gain access to information and to understand and apply them to improve or promote health (Norman & Skinner, 2006). However, the public is less likely to notice that the health information provided on the Internet is credible and is often unaware of, or even unable to determine, the accuracy of health information (Hsu, Chen, & Ho, 2011). Since this ability belongs in the eHealth literacy category, it needs attention.
eHealth literacy has the potential to positively support consumer health empowerment (Werts, & Hutton-Rogers, 2013). The Integrative Model of eHealth Use (IMeHU) proposes that macro level disparities in the social structures are connected to health disparities through the micro level conduits of eHealth literacy, motivation, and ability (Bodie & Dutta, 2008). However, few studies have explored the associations among individual factors, eHealth literacy, and healthy behaviour, and IMeHU has not been empirically investigated.
In Taiwan, college students are one of the groups with a higher frequency of access to Internet health information. The proportion of older people using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is lower than other age groups, making it difficult to cross the digital wall (Lin & Lin, 2009). Does eHealth literacy and healthy behaviour exist across the generation gap? In this study, college students and the elderly, over the age of 55, enrolled as participants. The purpose of this study was to use the IMeHU as a framework to examine the differences in eHealth literacy and health behaviour across age groups.
1.Bodie, G. D., & Dutta, M. J. (2008). Understanding health literacy for strategic health marketing: eHealth literacy, health disparities, and the digital divide. Health Marketing Quarterly, 25(1-2), 175-203. 2.Chiang, C. H., Yang, S. C., & Hsu, W. C. (2015). Development and validation of the E-health literacy scale and investigation of the relationships between E-health literacy and healthy behavior among undergraduate students in Taiwan. Formosa Journal of Mental Health, 28(3), 389-420. 3.European Commission, Directorate-General Communication Networks, Content and Technology. (2014). European citizens’ digital health literacy. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/flash/fl_404_en.pdf 4.Han, J. C. (2009). Internet penetration rate among countries. Retrieved from http://www.credit.com.tw/newweb/market/weekly/index.cfm?sn=46 5.Hsu, W. C, Chen, S. F., & Ho, C. J. (2011). Experience of using web health information among college students: An analysis from the health literacy perspective. Journal of Health Promotion and Health Education Contents, 35, 1 - 22. 6.Lin, Y. H., & Lin, S. J. (2009). Digital divides revisited: A process view of the acquisitions of information and communication technology (ICT) skills by the elderly. Journal of Library and Information Science Research, 3(2), 75-102. 7.Norman, C. D., & Skinner, H. A. (2006). eHealth literacy: Essential skills for consumer health in a networked world. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 8(2), e9. 8.Werts, N., & Hutton-Rogers, L. (2013). Barriers to achieving e-health literacy. American Journal of Health Sciences, 4(3), 115-119.
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