Understanding health literacy for strategic health marketing: eHealth literacy, health disparities, and the digital divide

  • Bodie G
  • Dutta M
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Abstract

Even despite policy efforts aimed at reducing health-related disparities, evidence mounts that population-level gaps in literacy and healthcare quality are increasing. This widening of disparities in American culture is likely to worsen over the coming years due, in part, to our increasing reliance on Internet-based technologies to disseminate health information and services. The purpose of the current article is to incorporate health literacy into an Integrative Model of eHealth Use. We argue for this theoretical understanding of eHealth literacy and propose that macro-level disparities in social structures are connected to health disparities through the micro-level conduits of eHealth literacy, motivation, and ability. In other words, structural inequities reinforce themselves and continue to contribute to healthcare disparities through the differential distribution of technologies that simultaneously enhance and impede literacy, motivation, and ability of different groups (and individuals) in the population. We conclude the article by suggesting pragmatic implications of our analysis.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Computer Literacy
  • Consumer Health Information/ methods
  • Educational Status
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Humans
  • Information Services/organization & administration
  • Internet
  • Marketing of Health Services/ methods

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Authors

  • G D Bodie

  • M J Dutta

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