Digital health interventions are efficient and flexible methods for enhancing the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. However, little is known about the characteristics associated with eHealth literacy in the Canadian South Asian population.
The aim of this study is to describe perceived eHealth literacy and explore the extent to which it is associated with sociodemographic, health status, and technology use variables in a subset of South Asian Canadians.
We analyzed data from the e-Patient Project survey, a mixed-mode cross-sectional survey that occurred in 2014. The eHealth Literacy Scale (eHEALS) was used to measure eHealth literacy in a convenience sample of 511 English- or Punjabi-speaking South Asian adults recruited from a community pharmacy, a family physician office, and community events in Edmonton, Alberta. Multivariable quantile regression was used to explore variables associated with eHealth literacy.
The analysis was restricted to 301 internet users (mean age 39.9, SD 14.8 years; 166/301, 55.1% female) who provided responses to all 8 eHEALS questions and complete demographic information. The mean overall eHEALS score was 29.3 (SD 6.8) out of 40, and 71.4% (215/301) agreed to at least 5 out of the 8 eHEALS items. The eHEALS item with the lowest level of agreement was “I can tell high-quality health resources from low-quality health resources on the internet” (182/301, 60.5%). Although there were statistically significant differences in eHEALS scores according to age, educational achievement, language preference, and the presence of chronic medical conditions, multivariable regression analysis indicated that language preference was the only variable independently associated with eHealth literacy (coefficient –6.0, 95% CI –9.61 to –2.39).
Conclusions:The aim of this study is to describe perceived eHealth literacy and explore the extent to which it is associated with sociodemographic, health status, and technology use variables in a subset of South Asian Canadians.
In our sample of South Asian Canadian internet users, preference for written health information in languages other than English was associated with lower eHealth literacy. Opportunities exist to improve eHealth literacy using culturally and linguistically tailored interventions.”