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

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eHealth literacy issues, constructs, models, and methods for health information technology design and evaluation

Helen Monkman, Andre W. Kushniruk (ACMI Fellow; CAHS Fellow)


The concept of eHealth literacy is beginning to be recognized as a being of key importance in the design and adoption of effective and efficient health information systems and applications targeted to lay people and patients. Indeed, many systems such as patient portals and personal health records have not been adopted due to a mismatch between the level of eHealth literacy demanded by a system and the level of eHealth literacy possessed by end users. The purpose of this paper is to present an overview of important concepts related to eHealth literacy, as well as how the notion of eHealth literacy can be applied to improve the design and adoption of consumer health information systems. This paper begins with describing the importance of eHealth literacy with respect to design of health applications for the general public paired with examples of consumer health information systems whose limited success and adoption has been attributed to the lack of consideration for eHealth literacy. This is followed by definitions of what eHealth literacy is and how it emerged from the related concept of health literacy. A model for conceptualizing the importance of aligning consumers’ eHealth literacy skills and the demands systems place on their skills is then described. Next, current tools for assessing consumers’ eHealth literacy levels are outlined, followed by an approach to systematically incorporating eHealth literacy in the deriving requirements for new systems is presented. Finally, a discussion of evolving approaches for incorporating eHealth literacy into usability engineering methods is presented.

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


Maintained and Developed by:

Laboratory for Knowledge Management & E-Learning

Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong