eHealth literacy in people living with HIV: Systematic review

Hae Ra Han, Hyejeong Hong, Laura E. Starbird, Song Ge, Athena D. Ford, Susan Malecki Renda, Michael Sanchez, Jennifer M Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Background: In the era of eHealth, eHealth literacy is emerging as a key concept to promote self-management of chronic conditions such as HIV. However, there is a paucity of research focused on eHealth literacy for people living with HIV (PLWH) as a means of improving their adherence to HIV care and health outcome. Objective: The objective of this study was to critically appraise the types, scope, and nature of studies addressing eHealth literacy as a study variable in PLWH. Methods: This systematic review used comprehensive database searches, such as PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, Web of Science, and Cochrane, to identify quantitative studies targeting PLWH published in English before May 2017 with eHealth literacy as a study variable. Results: We identified 56 unique records, and 7 papers met the eligibility criteria. The types of study designs varied (descriptive, n=3; quasi-experimental, n=3; and experimental, n=1) and often involved community-based settings (n=5), with sample sizes ranging from 18 to 895. In regards to instruments used, 3 studies measured eHealth literacy with validated instruments such as the eHealth Literacy Scale (eHEALS); 2 studies used full or short versions of Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults, whereas the remaining 2 studies used study-developed questions. The majority of studies included in the review reported high eHealth literacy among the samples. The associations between eHealth literacy and health outcomes in PLWH were not consistent. In the areas of HIV transmission risk, retention in care, treatment adherence, and virological suppression, the role of eHealth literacy is still not fully understood. Furthermore, the implications for future research are discussed. Conclusions: Understanding the role of eHealth literacy is an essential step to encourage PLWH to be actively engaged in their health care. Avenues to pursue in the role of eHealth literacy and PLWH should consider the development and use of standardized eHealth literacy definitions and measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere64
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Volume20
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

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Keywords

  • EHealth literacy
  • HIV
  • Mobile phones
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

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