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Health Information Week 01 July - 07 July 2019

Introduction to Health and Digital Literacy - Wednesday

Digital literacy defines a set of skills and competencies that are necessary in the workplace. Health literacy describes skills and competencies in using digital technology to manage your health, understanding illness and being a patient. Both digital and health literacy are promoted by Health Education England.  

Digital Literacy - Wednesday

Health Education England [HEE] commissioned work to create a definition of digital literacy that fits the context of the National Health Service [NHS].  

The Definition of Digital Literacy 

"Digital literacy is person-centred and can be divided into six domains. Each one has its own capabilities and behaviours to help improve the health and social care workforce.

  1. Communication, collaboration and participation
  2. Teaching, learning and self-development
  3. Information, data and media literacies
  4. Creation, innovation, scholarship
  5. Technical proficiency

Underpinning all the above domains is the sixth - digital identity, wellbeing, safety and security. This is because everything we do must be within a safe and secure context with due regard for our own and others’ wellbeing. It is also because anything we do online contributes to a created digital identity or identities which we all need to be mindful of."  

HEE has also produced a Short Film (YouTube may be blocked on some NHS Networks) to explain how important Digital Literacy is in the NHS workplace.   Underpinning the Digital Literacy model are a series of skills and capabilities for each of the six domains. These are available form the A Health and Care Digital Capabilities Framework.  You can use this to assess your own level of competence in each domain.  

Resources for learning

HEE conducted an audit of existing learning and teaching materials available for NHS Staff that addressed the skills and competencies in the HEE Digital Literacy model.  An explanation of the audit together with a link to the list of resources is available here.  There are also opportunities to study and learn online from eLearning for Healthcare and a number of free to access courses from leading global education providers. 

  • Coursera [ Link ]
  • edx [ Link ]
  • eLearning for Healthcare [ Link ]. Login with your OpenAthens Account. 
  • FutureLearn [  Link ]


Health Literacy - Wednesday

Definition of Health Literacy

"Health literacy refers to the personal characteristics and social resources needed for individuals and communities to access, understand, appraise and use information and services to make decisions about health. Health literacy includes the capacity to communicate, assert and enact these decisions."  Source:  WHO Health Literacy Toolkit 


Health Education England [HEE] has produced a number of resources to enable Health Literacy projects in England. These include a Health Literacy Toolkit and a useful How to guide outlining current projects and resources.