The Relevance of Literacy in Digital Health for Success of Healthcare and Its Marketing: Navigating Towards Digital Health Literacy

The Relevance of Literacy in Digital Health for Success of Healthcare and Its Marketing: Navigating Towards Digital Health Literacy

Copyright: © 2024 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/979-8-3693-0679-6.ch008
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This chapter represents a significant effort to understand and present a comprehensive overview of telemedicine and digital literacy in the context of healthcare in contemporary society. To achieve this, a thorough review of the most relevant and current studies conducted in the last five years has been carried out. One of the crucial aspects addressed in this chapter is the identification of barriers that hinder the adoption of telemedicine. Additionally, it examines the drivers that promote the adoption of telemedicine. These may include convenience, time and money savings, accessibility to quality healthcare services, and the ability to continuously monitor medical conditions from the comfort of one's home.
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1. Introduction

Digital health is seen as a new possibility to interact with the Health System; it has actually entirely changed the way we communicate with practitioners and handle medical consultations. Internet related topics have been addressed many times by researchers and so have social network issues; their impact on the health sector is of interest for the community because of the drastic changes they represent.

Digitalization has invaded all sectors, and healthcare is no exception to that.

For over a decade now, the use of new technologies has emerged into societal manners; these play an increasingly important role and have a deep impact on society itself (Paramio-Pérez et al., 2015). Today, both patients and professionals have changed the way they behave to handle health matters. The health sector is experiencing changes to apprehend, for example, a medical consultation, or some intercommunication between practitioner and patient, or even the tools used to search any kind of health information on the Internet.

In this context, easy access to the internet and, constant information updates are responsible for patients to use this tool as their main source on health matters (Serhrouchni & Malmartel, 2021). This new trend and, the collapse of health systems observed today in many countries, is promoting both the Internet and social networks as the main advertising sources, when trying to get answers on possible health doubts or issues (Serhrouchni & Malmartel, 2021).

This tendency intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the health sector started to make a more intense use of technologies to provide medical information, while respecting social distancing; the health sector had been quite suspicious towards its digitalization needs until then with doctors and patients feeling quite reluctant to attend virtual consultations.

The convergence and integration of Internet and related technologies into the health sector shows in new concepts like the “E-Health” or the “Telemedicine”. Today, about 39% of the global audience is making use of telemedicine. These technological advances progress every day by leaps and bounds. There is, however, a digital divide which means that with technology advances, digital health literacy becomes an issue for health equity (Zamora & Clingerman, 2011). It is true that digital health is evolving significantly and provides benefits for all, most particularly in the way certain medical care challenges are addressed; it provides new opportunities to improve patient diagnosis.

Today, we can differentiate seven main large blocks inside the digital health sector:

  • 1.

    Telemedicine: With the use of ICT tools, medical consultations are carried out remotely.

  • 2.

    Automation of processes and services: This is contributing to take more efficient and effective decisions, thanks to the existence of automatic controls, continuous updates and improvements that reduce the margin of error in diagnosis.

  • 3.

    mHealth: These are all kinds of mobile applications used to facilitate the access of patients and practitioners to records, guidelines, or to more secure control means.

  • 4.

    Wearables: These are electronic devices used to monitor different indicators on individual health like: smart watches, bracelets...

  • 5.

    Virtual Reality: Patients have access to surgical simulations to reduce their insecurity levels; they get the most precise and updated information with a touch of realism.

  • 6.

    Augmented Reality: This is used mainly by health professionals, to enrich virtual reality representations with added elements that would remain otherwise hidden. Both the rehabilitation process and remote operations can be improved with this technique.

  • 7.

    Big Data and Artificial Intelligence: The access to large amounts of real-time and updated information opens new horizons for health researchers. These tools present -altogether or separately- a wide potential to advance and improve in digital health.

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