The CIO’s and Chief Data Officer’s Roles in Tackling Digital Health Literacy
By Tammy Jackson
With so many health systems expanding their diversity, equity and inclusion posture, it will be increasingly important for CIOs and Chief Data Officers to focus on the need for digital skills and health literacy in patient communities. Lack of digital skills and health literacy can have a profound influence on patients’ overall well-being, and at some point, digital health literacy may be viewed as a social determinant of health, similar to basic resources like safe housing, food and education.
According to the World Health Organization, digital health literacy is “the ability to seek, find, understand, and appraise health information from electronic sources and apply the knowledge gained to addressing or solving a health problem.” Because of the coronavirus pandemic, digital initiatives such as telemedicine have picked up steam as part of health systems’ overall digital strategies.
As digital medicine continues to mature, leaders need to consider the implications of how these digital health strategies will service diverse populations and communities equitably. The more that organizations understand the impact of the digital skills and health literacy on their patient populations, the better prepared they will be to understand patients, ask the right questions and effectively educate their patients about their health.
For hospitals and health systems to advance consumer-driven patient care, the work of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Data Officer (CDO) are critical. These leaders must work together as a team to understand the value of mining data to create meaningful information that is useful to drive strategies to advance digital literacy within their patient communities