Paper by Jill Castek et al: “Efforts to improve digital literacies and internet access are valuable tools to reduce health disparities. The costs of equipping a person to use the internet are substantially lower than treating health conditions, and the benefits are multiple….
Those who do not have access to affordable broadband internet services, digital devices, digital literacies training, and technical support, face numerous challenges video-conferencing with their doctor, checking test results, filling prescriptions, and much more. Many individuals require significant support developing the digital literacies needed to engage in telehealth with the greatest need among older individuals, racial/ethnic minorities, and low-income communities. Taken in context, the costs of equipping a person to use the internet are substantially lower than treating health conditions, and the benefits are both persistent and significant.2
“Super” Social Determinants of Health
Digital literacies and internet connectivity have been called the “super social determinants of health” because they encompass all other social determinants of health (SDOH). Access to information, supports, and services are increasingly, and sometimes exclusively, accessible only online.
The social determinants of health shown in Figure 1. Digital Literacies & Access, include the neighborhood and physical environment, economic sustainability, healthcare system, community and social context, food, and education.4 Together these factors impact an individual’s ability to access healthcare services, education, housing, transportation, online banking, and sustain relationships with family members and friends. Digital literacies and access impacts all facets of a person’s life and affects behavioral and environmental outcomes such as shopping choices, housing, support systems, and health coverage….(More)”
Figure 1. Digital Literacies & Access.