I am now live blogging a session based on Health information literacy ,Maija-Leena Huotari stated the aim of the sssion to provide an overview of current international research in the field of health information literacy which draws on two different research traditions: health literacy and information literacy.
Veronika Kuhberg Larson from Leibniz institute for Psychology spoke about demographic characteristics and personality variables as predictors of health information literacy. In young adults health information literacy skills are linked to positive health behaviour, informed health decisions and treatment compliance. It is the point where people develop independence from their parents and take on health responsibilities for others, and learn how to deal with information overload. Demographic characteristics such as education, gender and vocation affect health information literacy in young adults. Personality traits have been shown to affect information behaviour, but this has not been investigated for health information literacy. the research found that extroversion is negatively correlated with HIL. The lower the level of education, the lower the level of HIL. Extroverted people use a variety of sources rather than performing deep searches, and trust social sources, and this could affect their use of academic and official health sources. There is a need for health services to provide a range of sources, some of which focus on social information exchange.
Heidi Enwald from Abo Akademi and University of Oulu, Finland spoke about attitudes to mobile devices for health in older adults. In Finland the older population is relatively tech-savvy. She introduced the idea of EHIL: everyday health information literacy. People have to engage in technology and different devices to engage with health services and monitor ones own health. The study aimed to investigate how EHIL relates to both traditional and more advanced information technology, and is part of a larger multidisciplinary study. A 17 page questionnaire was distributed to a random sample of older adults in the Oulu region. The response rate was 61.2 %, or 918 responses. 67% agreed that they used a variety of sources, but only 28% found it easy to find reliable health information on the internet. Elderly peopl who were confident on their abilities to evaluate health information were more likely to use both traditional and more modern IT, and were more likely to have positive opinions of mobile information technology. It is important to consider different levels of confidence and engagement with mobile technologies when designing health services.
Next up was Teija Maritta Keranen and Noora Hirvonen presenting about the use of an EHIL screening tool to investigate energy information literacy ( the ability to recognise an energy related information need etc). The EHIL screening tool was designed to identify people who recognise that they have issues in finding, evaluating, understanding information, and this study aimed to understand the value of this screening tool in the energy context. A link to an online survey with EHIL statements adjusted for the energy context was sent to all students at Oulu university, and 1400 students responded. The majority were full time students who lived in rental apartments. The screening tool's factorial structure was found to match that of the EHIL questionnaire. The finding indicate that this short tool could be applicable to other contexts and can be used to identify individuals or groups who lack confidence in finding and using information.
Anna-Maija Huhta then presented a systematic review of health literacy in online health information environments. Early descriptions of HL focused on comprehension, numeracy etc, but the concept has widened in recent years. Lawless et al. was one of the influential sources cited. 71 eligible articles were included in the review. Definitions by Ratzen & Parker and Norman & Skinner were most used in the LIS literature. Information is seen as a tool used by people to make better health decisions. Critical evaluation of information was only present in 4 out of the 9 retrieved definitions of HIL. There is a need to conceptualise the skills and competencies needed to act in online environments.
Augusta Palsdottir from Iceland presented the doctoral study of Sigridur Einarsdottir which aims to understand the information literacy of parents of children with long term health conditions. It is qualitative research based on grounded theory with interviews of 27 parents. The children have a variety of health conditions, and are a range of ages. There was a focus on unique and chronic illnesses. Data gathering is still ongoing, but initial results are presented. Daily information is needed that is concerned with how to live, e.g. How to give medecine, what food to give and generally comes from the health professional. Secondly there is "information that can add" to support daily life. Next is "deeper information" that is purposively sought by parents and tends to be complicated but not vital to the child's life. Finally there is information about rights, which is the hardest to get, e.g. About money and support and should be the easiest to get but in reality is the hardest to find. Often it's misleading or wrong. Sources that give and receive information are varied e.g. health care professionals, school or nursery staff, people in on or offline contexts and friends or family. Various factors influence parents information behaviour e.g. severity of the illness, and the social capital of parents. Parents who are alone and without support spend all their time taking care of the child and have no time or energy for information seeking. Parents who are scared for the child's life cast a wide net in their information searching.