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Supporting digital health literacy and
combating digital health inequality: what
libraries can do
Bob Gann
Digital Inclusion Specialist
@Bob_Gann
Health information is ubiquitous –
and increasingly digital
• Over 80% of internet users have searched for health information (Amante, 2015)
• One in twenty Google searches are for health information (Gibbs, 2015)
• There are over 300,000 health related apps (Pohl, 2017)
• Over a million people a day visit the NHS website (NHS.uk analytics)
Digital exclusion in the UK
9m people (16% of population
of the UK) cannot use the
internet or a digital device by
themselves
3.6m people (7% of the
population) are not online at all
Those who are digitally
excluded are more likely to be
older, have a disability, earn
lower income, and be less
educated
UK Consumer Digital Index 2020
Why are people digitally excluded?
• Access (including broadband
connectivity & affordability)
• Skills (both basic digital skills
and information literacy)
• Communication (language,
disabilities)
• Lack of interest, trust &
motivation
UK Consumer Digital Index 2018
Digital health literacy
“Digital health literacy: the ability
to seek, find, understand and
appraise health information from
electronic sources and to apply
the knowledge gained to
addressing or solving a health
problem”
Digital health literacy
requires a set of skills
including:
o traditional literacy
o technology literacy
o data literacy
o scientific literacy
o media literacy
Kickbusch, I et al (2013)
Health literacy: the solid facts. WHO
COVID-19 has exposed the digital divide
Supporting digital health literacy
Identify and access high quality
information - and challenge fake
news
Combating digital health inequality
Providing access and building digital skills
Learning from Widening Digital Participation
Report of 3 year national programme published this week
285,000 people involved with 23 local pathfinders
Digital health hubs in local community settings including
libraries, high street shop, homeless centre
Recommendations include:
• Improve digital health literacy for safe and healthy
internet use
• Build the digitals skills of health and care staff, following
Health Education England’s lead
• Create and support network of digital health champions www.goodthingsfoundation.org/research-
publications/digital-inclusion-health-and-
care-lessons-learned-nhs-widening-digital
Libraries lead the way
• COVID-19 Fund grants to voluntary organisations
for digital equipment, data & connectivity
• Distributing iPads from biggest tablet lending
scheme in country
• Reconfiguring Digital Champions training via
video conferencing
• Signposting to digital tools and resources
including free online training
• Facilitating adoption of NHS self management
tools and apps
• Auditing digital access across city to see where
help can be provided
100% Digital Leeds is led by Leeds Libraries, with combined
budget from a range of agencies www.digitalinclusionleeds.com
Thank you
More information:
Gann, B. (2019) Transforming lives:
combating digital health inequality
IFLA Journal 45(3): 189-97
Gann, B (2020) Combating digital
health inequality in the time of
coronavirus, Journal of Consumer
Health on the Internet, 24:3: 278-284,
email: bob.gann@nhs.net
Twitter: Bob_Gann
Practical how to guides for England & Wales

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CILIP Conference 2020: Supporting digital health literacy and combating digital health inequalities: what libraries can do

  • 1. Supporting digital health literacy and combating digital health inequality: what libraries can do Bob Gann Digital Inclusion Specialist @Bob_Gann
  • 2. Health information is ubiquitous – and increasingly digital • Over 80% of internet users have searched for health information (Amante, 2015) • One in twenty Google searches are for health information (Gibbs, 2015) • There are over 300,000 health related apps (Pohl, 2017) • Over a million people a day visit the NHS website (NHS.uk analytics)
  • 3. Digital exclusion in the UK 9m people (16% of population of the UK) cannot use the internet or a digital device by themselves 3.6m people (7% of the population) are not online at all Those who are digitally excluded are more likely to be older, have a disability, earn lower income, and be less educated UK Consumer Digital Index 2020
  • 4. Why are people digitally excluded? • Access (including broadband connectivity & affordability) • Skills (both basic digital skills and information literacy) • Communication (language, disabilities) • Lack of interest, trust & motivation UK Consumer Digital Index 2018
  • 5. Digital health literacy “Digital health literacy: the ability to seek, find, understand and appraise health information from electronic sources and to apply the knowledge gained to addressing or solving a health problem” Digital health literacy requires a set of skills including: o traditional literacy o technology literacy o data literacy o scientific literacy o media literacy Kickbusch, I et al (2013) Health literacy: the solid facts. WHO
  • 6. COVID-19 has exposed the digital divide
  • 7. Supporting digital health literacy Identify and access high quality information - and challenge fake news
  • 8. Combating digital health inequality Providing access and building digital skills
  • 9. Learning from Widening Digital Participation Report of 3 year national programme published this week 285,000 people involved with 23 local pathfinders Digital health hubs in local community settings including libraries, high street shop, homeless centre Recommendations include: • Improve digital health literacy for safe and healthy internet use • Build the digitals skills of health and care staff, following Health Education England’s lead • Create and support network of digital health champions www.goodthingsfoundation.org/research- publications/digital-inclusion-health-and- care-lessons-learned-nhs-widening-digital
  • 10. Libraries lead the way • COVID-19 Fund grants to voluntary organisations for digital equipment, data & connectivity • Distributing iPads from biggest tablet lending scheme in country • Reconfiguring Digital Champions training via video conferencing • Signposting to digital tools and resources including free online training • Facilitating adoption of NHS self management tools and apps • Auditing digital access across city to see where help can be provided 100% Digital Leeds is led by Leeds Libraries, with combined budget from a range of agencies www.digitalinclusionleeds.com
  • 11. Thank you More information: Gann, B. (2019) Transforming lives: combating digital health inequality IFLA Journal 45(3): 189-97 Gann, B (2020) Combating digital health inequality in the time of coronavirus, Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet, 24:3: 278-284, email: bob.gann@nhs.net Twitter: Bob_Gann Practical how to guides for England & Wales