Digital Health Literacy
Development and Validation of a Digital Health Literacy Assessment for Use Among Diverse Adult Populations
January 2019 – July 2022
Merck Sharpe and Dohme
As the evidence detailing the impact of health literacy on health outcomes has proliferated, so has the need for accurate and reliable measurement of individuals’ literacy skills. The objective of this study is to develop and validate a digital health literacy assessment that can be easily completed online or via SMS text messaging. The feasibility of using the assessment in both modalities will be examined to determine if usability varies by modality or by individual characteristics.
Health literacy, has been linked to numerous health behaviors and health outcomes over the past few decades. As the evidence detailing the impact of health literacy on health outcomes has proliferated, so has the need for accurate and reliable measurement of individuals’ literacy skills. As a result, researchers have developed a number of health literacy assessments that can be used across various disease states, languages, age groups, and research contexts. Despite the growth of this field, there is a paucity of tools available to measure health literacy via currently available consumer technologies. We will conduct a mixed methods study, using both qualitative and quantitative methodology, to develop and validate a new measure of health literacy that will be deployed online or via SMS text messaging. This multi-phase study will include: 1) item generation and refinement by health literacy and cognitive science experts, healthcare providers, and community-dwelling (health seeking and non-health seeking) adults (N~20), 2) psychometric testing via structured in-person interviews and online surveys (N=225) and 3) feasibility testing of the final measure, among participants randomized (1:1) to either the online (n~112) or SMS text (n~112) versions. To be eligible to participate in any phase of this study, participants must be: 1) ≥ 18 years old, 2) English proficient, 3) have a private cell phone and be willing and able to send and receive text messages, 4) have access to the internet and be willing and able to utilize it, 5) have a private email address; and 6) have no severe, uncorrectable visual, hearing or cognitive impairments that would preclude study consent or participation.
• Principal Investigator: Stacy Cooper Bailey, PhD MPH
• Project Lead: Chandana Vuyyuru