Posted in Health Literacy

What Causes Health Information Disparity?

Google-Search1A growing number of people are seeking health information on the Internet. To meet demands, healthcare providers are increasingly disseminating information online. While online health information has enhanced the dissemination of health information and improved people’s health-related knowledge, critics posit that such dissemination has widened knowledge disparities in health information and health benefits as a result.

Are we in effect creating another level in our two tier health system – the digitally savvy, information rich haves and the have-nots? What factors increase this disparity? A study by the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Oklahoma set out to answer this question. The result published Dec 27, 2013, show that education lies at the heart of the disparity and impacted other elements such as health literacy and computer self-efficacy.  What is most interesting is the finding that although an individual may possess high levels of computer self-efficacy, this does not correlate with health benefits. What this means is that access to a computer and knowing how to use it, does not impact on health information disparity; but knowing how to search for health information and what to do with that information does.

Ref: Yong-Mi Kim, J. Info. Know. Mgmt., 12, 1350032 (2013) [10 pages] DOI: 10.1142/S0219649213500329

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