Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal (KM&EL), Vol 7, No 4 (2015)

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The e-health literacy framework: A conceptual framework for characterizing e-health users and their interaction with e-health systems

Ole Norgaard, Dorthe Furstrand, Louise Klokker, Astrid Karnoe, Roy Batterham, Lars Kayser, Richard H. Osborne


In current e-health research and development there is a need for a broader understanding of the capabilities and resources required for individuals to use and benefit from e-health services, i.e. their e-health literacy. The aim of this study was to develop a new conceptualisation of e-health literacy with consideration of the experiences of a wide range of stakeholders and in alignment with current technologies. Concept mapping was used to generate a comprehensive and grounded model of e-health literacy. Concept mapping workshop participants included patients, health professionals and medical informatics experts. Eight workshops, carried out in Denmark and United Kingdom, generated 450 statements, separated into 128 clusters. Through an inductive structured analysis, seven domains were identified: 1. Ability to process information, 2. Engagement in own health, 3. Ability to engage actively with digital services, 4. Feeling safe and in control, 5. Motivation to engage with digital services, 6. Having access to systems that work, and 7. Digital services that suit individual needs. These empirically derived domains form an e-health literacy framework (eHLF) and provide new insights into the user’s ability to understand, access and use e-health technologies. The eHLF offers a framework for evaluating an individual’s or a population’s capacity to understand, use and benefit from technology to promote and maintain their health. Such a framework also provides a potential checklist for the development and improvement of e-health services.

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Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal (KM&EL)
ISSN 2073-7904


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Laboratory for Knowledge Management & E-Learning

Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong