Digital health literacy bridges the divide to accessible health services
A digital health literacy initiative funded by the Australian Digital Health Agency is reaping significant rewards this year, bridging the divide that prevents many Australians from accessing improved health services.
Around 71 community organisations were selected for the initiative by the Good Things Foundation, a social change charity that supports people to improve their lives through the use of technology. Through their Health My Way program, the Foundation was able to teach Australians digital health literacy skills from the evolving digital health system.
During the program, over 232 digital health mentors were trained and resourced so they could teach others in their local area how to understand and use digital health literacy tools and find reliable health information online.
At least 3,000 people have been directly supported by the mentors to improve their skills throughout the initiative. Another 3,000 have been reached through community events and the provision of resources on accessing reliable information online about COVID-19.
Aside from the Good Things Foundation, Burdekin Community Association also ran a digital health literacy program throughout the pandemic, keeping their centre open in COVID-safe conditions and providing advice both in person and over the phone.
Burdekin Community Association’s Service Coordinator Rita Quagliata said, “This program is very beneficial and easy for learners to follow. It can be paced to suit each individual’s needs and offers a tailored approach to improve their digital skills.”
National Director of Good Things Foundation Jess Wilson said digital skills were essential for all Australians. With it, they can benefit from the range of online tools available to improve their health and wellbeing.
Australian Digital Health Agency CEO Amanda Cattermole said that by supporting these organisations, the Agency benefitted from their local relationships and existing roles supporting communities.
“Together with our work with the Australian Library and Information Association who help people access their My Health Records, we are supporting Australians to make the most of the fantastic health tech innovations in this country – to help them lead happier, healthier lives,” said CEO Cattermole.