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Digital health literacy bridges the divide to accessible health services

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A digital health literacy initiative funded by the Australian Digital Health Agency is reaping significant rewards this year, bridging the digital divide that precludes many Australians accessing improved health services.  

Over 71 community organisations across Australia were selected by the Good Things Foundation to teach digital health literacy skills through the Health My Way program last year. 

Good Things Foundation is a social change charity that supports people to improve their lives through the use of technologyWith their Health My Way program, the Foundation plans to build understanding and skills that allow Australians to know the benefits of the evolving digital health system. 

The Foundation trained and resourced 232 digital health mentors so that they could teach others in their local area how to understand and use digital health literacy tools such as My Health Record or fitness and wellbeing apps, and find reliable health information online. 

During the initiative, at least 3,000 people have been directly supported by the mentors to improve their skills. Another 3,000 have been reached through community events and provision of resources on accessing reliable information online about COVID-19.  

Burdekin Community Association is another organisation that has been running digital health literacy program throughout the pandemic. They did so by keeping the centre open in COVID-safe conditions and continuing to provide advice both in person and over the phone. 

Their 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.

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