The effective and equitable digital transformation of health systems could have many benefits. People who are digitally health literate – those that can gain and use knowledge from electronic sources to solve a health problem – are more able to manage personal health and care issues. Better prevention models can be developed, and healthy behaviours supported.
However, there is a risk that the most vulnerable people are left behind in the transition.
People with lower social and economic status have a higher burden of disease. They also face more barriers to accessing and using information. Ensuring that they benefit from the digital transition requires action within health and other sectors; innovation within states and companies; the development of professionals and services; and wider improvements in education, and social justice and inclusion.
EuroHealthNet has published a Policy Précis examining digital health literacy and what it means for health equity. It examines what can and is being done to support those most in need.