health literacy

10 theses on plans for a National Health Portal

Increasingly, the internet is the place to go to for health information. One in 20 searches on Google is related to health. More than half of German internet users look for information online about illnesses and treatments at least once a year. However, if the common assumption is to be believed, they usually fail to find what they are looking for in the jungle of information and succeed only in becoming needlessly confused. Or they are confronted with factually inaccurate or misleading information. One proposed solution to this problem is the establishment of a National Health Portal. The German Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) has commissioned the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) to develop a concept for such a portal by the beginning of 2018. Does this idea hold up to scrutiny? Because we would like to offer both constructive and critical input to the German government’s efforts, and after frequent requests for our own opinion in past months, this blog post gathers together our current thoughts on a National Health Portal –in ten theses.

E-Mental-Health und Algorithmen: Dr. Adrian Aguilera im Interview

Digital applications in Psychotherapy: Finding an efficient Blend between the Technology and the Human – An Interview with Dr. Adrian Aguilera

To better involve patients in their therapy, researchers at the Berkeley School of Social Welfare of the University of California have developed an algorithm-based text messaging service. The service is designed to help improving the treatment of depression in members of ethnic minorities and social strata with a lower income. This way, patients are supported with their homework, regular attendance of therapy sessions and medication intake. We have asked Adrian Aguilera, head of the program, about his experiences with using digital support for psychotherapy.

New Study: Weak health literacy creates a digital divide – An interview with Prof. Michael Mackert

One of the questions explored by „The Digital Patient” is how to promote health literacy in the digital age. To deepen our understanding of the various issues associated with this question, we interviewed Professor Michael Mackert from the University of Texas. Together with his colleagues, Mackert recently carried out a study exploring the impact of low health literacy among citizens on how they use digital health information. The findings show that patients with low health literacy are generally less healthy and have more difficulty with digital solutions, particularly when it comes to protecting their privacy and preparing information. This risk of a new digital divide is considerable. The study’s findings were published in 2016 in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. In the following interview, the study’s author, Prof. Mackert, discusses the lessons we can draw from these findings.