Digital Health Readiness

Studies exploring health literacy, digital health literacy, and barriers to the use of telehealth have identified a range of important barriers to telehealth uptake that go beyond simply access to and knowledge in use of devices. These barriers include factors such as trust, acceptance, and relevance of telehealth as a means of receiving care. Our team has adopted the term “digital health readiness” to represent the overarching concept of people’s ability and comfort in using digital health tools. Our work in this space includes both research to better understand digital health readiness needs and community engagement to work to increase digital health readiness across populations.

Building Capacity/Community Engagement

  • Digital Health Navigation: We have trained community health workers specifically to provide digital navigation support. They are engaging communities through providing hands-on digital assistance at the Frazier Family Coalition in North Philadelphia as well as at a range of other community spaces and events. In addition, they are providing outreach to individuals at various patient care sites throughout Jefferson. This work aims to empower individuals to be an active participant in their care through decreasing barriers to digital health engagement.
  • Organizational Partnerships: We have collaborated through grant-funded initiatives with both Esperanza Health Clinic and the Frazier Family Coalition. These collaborations are focused on better understanding the health care needs of their specific communities served, including the barriers patients face using technology for health care. At Esperanza, we trained community members to be research partners with our team. These members helped throughout the research process to ensure the voice of their community was adequately captured. In addition, they made the final educational videos that resulted from this work, ensuring patient- and community-centeredness of the entire process. At Frazier, we have community health workers who are on-site at Frazier to provide support to community members who are accessing other educational programming at Frazier.

Patient-Centered Initiatives

  • Digital Health Readiness Screener: A standardized approach to measure digital health readiness, with a focus on identifying each individual’s specific barriers to readiness, is needed to inform the delivery of tailored interventions focused on addressing these barriers. To that end, we have developed the Digital Health Readiness Screener. This 30-item screener identifies specific barriers that prevent patients from navigating and using technology for their healthcare needs. This tool has been designed to be applicable across a variety of settings, and will be accessible here upon completion of validation testing.
  • Patient Portal Tutorials: In collaboration with Esperanza Health Clinic, we worked with members of their community to develop instructional videos that teach patients how to navigate the Esperanza patient portal. Videos directly addressed patient-identified areas for support (e.g., scheduling visits, medication refills) and commonly-faced barriers (e.g., forgetting passwords, using preferred languages). They were all created by a community member who was working in partnership with our research team to ensure capturing of the community voice. View videos via YouTube.
  • Patient-Prioritized Research Agenda: Our team hosted a national consensus conference attended by patients, community members, and experts in the field of telehealth, to identify the research questions that are most important to address in order to reduce disparities in telehealth uptake and use. The group prioritized a list of 20 research questions that are important for researchers to investigate. This work was funded through a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award (21350-TJU).