Digital Literacy Checkup: 3 Questions to Ask Your Patients

Digital Literacy Checkup: 3 Inquiries to Ask Your Sufferers


This weblog put up was co-authored with Katherine Swarts, Digital Content material Author within the BridgingApps division of Easter Seals Higher Houston.

JESHOOTS on pixabay

Supply: JESHOOTS on pixabay

There’s a Nationwide Psychological Well being Consciousness Month each Might, however now, in June, and for these dwelling with or treating psychological sickness, day-after-day is a mental-health-awareness day. And within the 2020s, that consciousness consists of digital literacy. Among the many benefits of being “fluent” in app use, web navigation, and digital conferences:

  • Capability to proceed remedy appointments and take part in assist teams when in-person conferences are impractical or inconceivable.
  • Entry to dependable sources of well being info, plus means to differentiate dependable sources from on-line rumor.
  • Capability to find and implement applicable apps for particular wants.

Digital literacy can imply the distinction between social isolation and social connection, or between nervousness and self-confidence. In some circumstances, particularly the place an individual is at excessive danger for suicide or medical disaster, it may possibly imply the distinction between life and demise.

As a clinician, you possible present digital counseling and different digital choices to your sufferers’ comfort. However can all of your sufferers use these choices equally and successfully?

Pixabay, used with permission

Supply: Pixabay, used with permission

3 Questions

It’s little assist to supply sufferers a hyperlink or an app advice that they don’t know how you can use, or can’t entry. Earlier than introducing anybody to your workplace’s digital choices, use the next inquiries to pinpoint how properly the affected person can benefit from these choices.

1. Do you may have web entry at house?

Don’t simply take “sure” or “no” for a solution: discover out what kind of entry. Whereas over 90 % of U.S. households have some degree of web service, solely about 75 % have the high-speed “broadband” wanted to successfully use many apps and web sites. (Pew Analysis Heart, “Web/Broadband Reality Sheet,” 04/07/2021.) Additionally, many individuals entry the web primarily by smartphone, so it’s essential to know what system or gadgets a affected person makes use of, and which sorts of technology-facilitated care are suitable with these gadgets.

2. Do you may have any privateness issues about utilizing an app to assist your psychological well being?

Flaticons, used with permission

Supply: Flaticons, used with permission

Once more, get an in depth reply to this query: privateness operates on many ranges. At house, many sufferers—particularly in the event that they share smartphones or lack non-public rooms—have professional issues about their info being discovered by members of the family who could also be unsympathetic, abusive, or vulnerable to gossip. Sufferers with no or restricted house web entry sometimes go surfing by public networks, lots of which lack the technical safety to maintain different community customers from “overhearing” non-public medical info. Additionally, many apps and packages include privateness issues of their very own—so make sure you vet every part fastidiously earlier than recommending it.

3. Are you presently utilizing any mental-health and/or physical-health apps?

The most effective check of digital literacy is one’s present degree of digital participation. If a affected person is already skilled with a number of well being apps, discover a strategy to tie these apps into the remedy plan. If a affected person has no digital expertise, be ready to assist them discover easy-to-learn, user-friendly choices that match their particular wants. Keep in mind that “helpful” needn’t imply “bells and whistles.” For instance, a easy smartphone digicam can be utilized to create a “constructive images” journal, or a primary well being app that comes with the cellphone might help with step monitoring and different physical-activity targets.

Pixabay, used with permission

Supply: Pixabay, used with permission

Digital Navigators

In case your sufferers (otherwise you your self) need assistance with digital literacy, the answer is an authorized Digital Navigator—an individual educated to stroll others by every part from securing inexpensive web entry to dealing with app troubleshooting. Most Navigators are required to finish each in-person and on-line coaching periods. To assist your sufferers most successfully, it’s simple to work with somebody who’s licensed—or to turn out to be licensed your self. (The time funding for coaching is minimal, often beneath 12 hours.)

The world could also be previous the worst COVID-19 restrictions, however the brand new benefits of digital communication are right here to remain. Teaching your sufferers in digital literacy is a vital a part of maximizing restoration.


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