Health literacy and the digital divide among older Americans.

TitleHealth literacy and the digital divide among older Americans.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsLevy, H, Janke, AT, Langa, KM
JournalJ Gen Intern Med
Volume30
Issue3
Start Page284
Pagination284-9
Date Published2015 Mar
ISSN Number1525-1497
KeywordsAge Factors, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Cohort Studies, Digital Divide, Female, Health Literacy, Humans, Internet, Male, Prospective Studies, Retrospective Studies, Surveys and Questionnaires, United States
Abstract

<p><b>BACKGROUND: </b>Among the requirements for meaningful use of electronic medical records (EMRs) is that patients must be able to interact online with information from their records. However, many older Americans may be unprepared to do this, particularly those with low levels of health literacy.</p><p><b>OBJECTIVE: </b>The purpose of the study was to quantify the relationship between health literacy and use of the Internet for obtaining health information among Americans aged 65 and older.</p><p><b>DESIGN: </b>We performed retrospective analysis of 2009 and 2010 data from the Health and Retirement Study, a longitudinal survey of a nationally representative sample of older Americans.</p><p><b>PARTICIPANTS: </b>Subjects were community-dwelling adults aged 65 years and older (824 individuals in the general population and 1,584 Internet users).</p><p><b>MAIN MEASURES: </b>Our analysis included measures of regular use of the Internet for any purpose and use of the Internet to obtain health or medical information; health literacy was measured using the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine-Revised (REALM-R) and self-reported confidence filling out medical forms.</p><p><b>KEY RESULTS: </b>Only 9.7% of elderly individuals with low health literacy used the Internet to obtain health information, compared with 31.9% of those with adequate health literacy. This gradient persisted after controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, health status, and general cognitive ability. The gradient arose both because individuals with low health literacy were less likely to use the Internet at all (OR = 0.36 [95% CI 0.24 to 0.54]) and because, among those who did use the Internet, individuals with low health literacy were less likely to use it to get health or medical information (OR = 0.60 [95% CI 0.47 to 0.77]).</p><p><b>CONCLUSION: </b>Low health literacy is associated with significantly less use of the Internet for health information among Americans aged 65 and older. Web-based health interventions targeting older adults must address barriers to substantive use by individuals with low health literacy, or risk exacerbating the digital divide.</p>

Notes

Export Date: 20 January 2015 Article in Press

URLhttp://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?eid=2-s2.0-84914171477andpartnerID=40andmd5=41b0823f4329aba89308dad7c476949a
DOI10.1007/s11606-014-3069-5
User Guide Notes

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25387437?dopt=Abstract

Endnote Keywords

health literacy/health literacy/electronic health records/internet use/sociodemographic characteristics/sociodemographic characteristics

Endnote ID

999999

Alternate JournalJ Gen Intern Med
Citation Key6472
PubMed ID25387437
PubMed Central IDPMC4351282
Grant ListP01 AG026571 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
K01 AG034232 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
U01 AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
P01AG026571 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
P30 AG024824 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
K01AG034232 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
U01AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States