Human Nutrition, Diet and Health > HNDH Blog > Posts > E-health, Health Literacy and You

​E-health and health literacy do not have the same meaning. E-health, in general terms, is the use ofcomputers in healthcare. Health literacy is the ability to find and use health information to make proper health care decisions. A person with poor health literacy may not get good results from their healthcare. Poor health literacy increases the risk of medical errors. Health literacy involves writing,speaking,listening, math, and cultural understanding. Highly educated people can have poor health literacy.

Bridging the Gap

An example of a health literacy skill is reading a prescription drug label. Studies have shown that up to 78% of people with limited health literacy don’t understand the warnings on prescription drug labels.Health literacy also involves communication with health care professionals. The words heath careprofessionals use are often misunderstood and impact your healthcare. A health literate person endstheir healthcare appointment by asking three questions. The questions are:

-What is my main problem?

-What do I need to do?

-Why is it important for me to do this?

To use e-health correctly you need to be health literate by learning the ABCs – accuracy, bias, and currency (date of information). People go online to try to figure out their own medical condition or someone else’s health concern.  However, there is a lot of misinformation online, and without the ABCs a person can be motivated to follow advice that can lead to bad health consequences.

Internet Resources:

Ask Me 3 :

Pew Health Report :

Rx List (online medical resource dedicated to offering detailed and current pharmaceutical information on brand and generic drugs​):​​

Submitted by Donna Shanklin, Regional Extension Agent Human Nutrition Diet & Health, email, cell 256-200-2997 ​​



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