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Health Online: Finding Information You Can Trust

Health Online: Finding Information You Can Trust is an educational program developed by Wisconsin Health Literacy (WHL) to help persons from underrepresented populations better access, identify, and use reliable health information on the internet.  With today’s focus on obtaining information online or going mobile, there is a digital divide for many individuals with low health literacy and represented among vulnerable populations, using online and other digital tools for health (Pew, 2015). 

This program is in Phase 2. Phase 1 was funded by the National Networks of Libraries of Medicine- Greater Midwest Region and had the same goal of helping people better access, identify, and use reliable health information on the internet. A total of 32 collaborative Health Online community-based workshops and 4 Health Online train-the-trainer sessions were facilitated throughout Wisconsin. Review Phase 1 program report summary.

Phase 2 includes two components:

1.  WHL is facilitating 25 “digital health literacy” workshops, 90 to 120-minutes, for consumers most at risk for low health literacy, especially targeting refugees, immigrants, indigenous peoples, LGBT communities and those with low literacy.  Participants will use iPads or Chromebooks, provided by Wisconsin Health Literacy, to follow along and try web searches during the workshop. 

Discussion topics include:

  • Initial search – discovering sources of reliable information
  • Scanning information on webpage – scanning online information in order to find quick facts and relevant information
  • Evaluating sources – how to spot unreliable sources, determine the purpose of a webpage, and evaluating a site based on accuracy, authority, bias, currency, and coverage
  • Finding sites in other languages
  • Navigating mobile vs. computer – learning the differences in layouts
  • Internet Access – addressing access for patients, caregivers, students and location-based challenges
  • Other digital health tools – health portals, wearables, and apps
     

2.  The second project component involves providing a 3-hour train-the-trainer for library staff, who work with vulnerable populations, on how to effectively help persons with low health literacy find trustworthy health information. 10 trainings will be facilitated this program phase. 

Discussion topics include:

  • Digital health literacy – what is it? 
  • Community-based health online workshop content
    • Initial search – discovering sources of reliable information
    • Scanning information on webpage – scanning online information in order to find quick facts and relevant information
    • Evaluating sources – how to spot unreliable sources, determine the purpose of a webpage, and evaluating a site based on accuracy, authority, bias, currency, and coverage
    • Finding sites in other languages
    • Navigating mobile vs. computer – learning the differences in layouts
    • Internet Access – addressing access for patients, caregivers, students and location-based challenges
    • Other digital health tools – health portals, wearables, and apps
    • Community member feedback – review community-based Health Online workshop data (pre and post-survey statistics) to get a better understanding of community members knowledge of finding health information online 
    • Communication techniques – educating others how to use the internet to find health information
    • Implementing health online workshops in your community
    • National Network of Libraries of Medicine resources 

If you’re interested in scheduling a workshop or training, contact Caitlyn Mowatt, Health Communications Specialist at 608-257-1655 ext. 6 or caitlyn@wisconsinliteracy.org

Download copy of handouts 

Visit Health Online web curriculum developed by Wisconsin Health Literacy: https://wihealthliteracy.wixsite.com/healthonline