Hardly a day goes by when I don’t see, hear or read something about the need to increase health literacy of patients and healthcare consumers. There’s almost always some mention of basic technical skills required to even begin to gain a level of healthcare literacy. Practically speaking, increasing literacy about any subject – whether it’s health, literacy, healthcare literacy, literacy about personal finance or anything for that matter – demands a basic level of technical skills.
Moreover, as print media and traditional approaches to education and training give way to new technology-based methods, it’s more important than ever to obtain a basic level of proficiency using personal computers, tablets and smartphones to further the opportunity to improve health literacy.
What Basic Technical Skills Are Needed?
Here are some of the basic technical skills I believe are needed to become literate on any topic in today’s world.
1. Understand basic input methods including traditional keyboarding, “swype-ing,” touch screens and voice to text
Accessing, Reading and Creating Documents
Create, read, edit (when appropriate) and save documents in popular formats including:
The ability to view presentations is essential
4. Finished documents (PDF. i.e. Adobe PDF)
People will primarily need the capacity to read and save PDFs
Navigate Online (i.e. The Internet)
1. Recognize, understand and use hyperlinks (aka URLs)
2. Recognize and use email addresses and various social media handles – like @ShimCode
3. Use a search engine (e.g., Google, Bing, or Yahoo)
Here are some online courses on navigating the internet that I recommend.
Communicate & Share Online
1. Via email
2. Via instant messaging or chat
3. Via web uploads
4. Commenting on blog posts and articles
5. Via social media accounts
Participate in Online Activities
More and more information is becoming available online in various, “rich formats” – often presented in an interactive way customized to specific end user needs. Nowadays, becoming more literate means being able to attend or participate in:
2. Video conferences – live streamed and pre-recorded
3. Tweet Chats
Health literacy and healthcare literacy are important. What other other skills, technical or otherwise – are needed to become health literate?