This report examines the outcomes of a health literacy proof-of-concept trial, which looked at the potential for improving health literacy standards in the community via the integration of two existing broadband technologies.
This report examines the outcomes of a health literacy proof-of-concept trial held at the University of Melbourne. Despite the dramatic rise in accessing health information on the Internet, current research indicates that the health literacy levels of the Australian general public have not been improving. This suggests that new approaches to health literacy information and education are still needed and led to the work described here. The trial looked at the potential for improving health literacy standards in the community via the integration of two existing broadband technologies; IPTV or Internet Protocol television which is more usually used to provide entertainment in the form of, for example, sports and movies via subscription TV channels and pay-per-view, and SeeCare which is a web-based, and consumer-led, care and support tool. The statistics suggest a low level of internet usage among persons with low level health literacy but significant TV usage for this cohort supporting our initial enduser needs analysis and case for developing such an integrated system.
The target group for the study were those with type 2 diabetes (and their carers in some instances) who were selected for their generally low technology usage levels. They were invited to test the system in a mocked up lounge-room setting with large screen TV, remote controls, and comfortable chairs.
Based on a previous interview with a diabetes health educator, the client’s requirements culminated (after the educator had used the SeeCare web-based tool) in the provision of a tailored selection of videos (delivered from an IPTV server). Having negotiated a log-in process via a remote control, users could then select on screen personalised videos from a trusted source of reliable information, rather than be overwhelmed with a range of information of unknown relevance as occurs with typical searches on the Internet. Thus the SeeCare IPTV service offered a personalised form of augmentation of conventional telephone or face-to-face consultations between consumer and health educator.
This report finds that SeeCare IPTV:
- Can deliver personalised, high quality and trusted health education, delivering it via a medium, TV, that is familiar and useable particularly for those with lower health literacy levels.
- Was very well received by trial participants who found the TV-and-remote model very easy to use, the personalised video content of direct relevance, of interest and useful.
- Should not completely replace face-to-face interactions: educators and clients both mentioned importance of personal contact via educators and/or community groups.
- Needs a wide range of compelling video content to draw in and hold the viewer over time.
- Has great potential in streamlining the provision and consumption of health information and could remove barriers such as distance to services, and English as a second language.
- Allows educators to personalise information allowing efficiency in user management and thereby providing potential alleviation of health educator shortages.
- Requires more work, particularly on the remote and interface ergonomics.
- Has obvious applicability to other chronic illnesses and aged care.