It would be unwise to recommend a book to a patient who cannot read. It's the same for mobile apps! Digital literacy refers to the set of skills that make it possible to use a digital tool or to browse the Internet to search for information.
In general, anyone can use an app, even if they are not very comfortable with technology. Remember that nearly one in three Canadians currently use a mobile application related to their health (Paré, Leaver, and Bourget, 2018). You don't have to be a writer or an avid reader to delve into a novel every now and then. It's the same for mobile applications!
For some patients, such as young people sharing their difficulties on social media, digital literacy is not an issue. For some seniors, although their digital literacy is much higher than you might think, it may be important to question digital literacy. For some patients with limited resources, accessibility to a cellphone or internet connexion can even be an issue!
Some questions to ask:
- Do you own a smartphone?
- Have you ever downloaded a mobile app? How?
- How often do you use mobile apps?
- How many of these apps do you use for your health?
Your role is to initiate a quick discussion about the use of digital tools, and identify the stop signs, if any!
Paré, G., Leaver, C., & Bourget, C. (2018). Diffusion of the digital health self-tracking movement in Canada: results of a national survey. Journal of medical Internet research, 20(5), e177. doi: 10.2196/jmir.9388