Telemedicine has become an essential part of health systems in recent years. However, the lack of digital literacy can be an obstacle and can create inequalities between patients. That’s why it is important to reduce the digital gap and educate people in dealing with health information from electronic sources. Healthcare companies can be powerful advocates in this process by promoting a better digital approach to healthcare with engaging applications and platforms.
Digital literacy goes together with health literacy. The more people can fully understand and access health information, the more they can have an active role in their own care: engaged and active patients will be more responsible for their therapy, study participants in clinical trials will provide better outcomes. The solution to improve health literacy is to reach patients where they already are by answering the following question: where do people spend long hours every day? The answer is straightforward given that people spend the majority of their time on their devices, such as phones, computers, tablets.
However, there are some digital barriers related to different factors like age, geography, literacy, language, income, and physical obstacles such as low connectivity or lack of devices. Elderly people, for example, are the fastest-growing segment of the World population and the dominant users of the healthcare system. Technology must be adapted to the capabilities of its users, especially the older ones. People may have a digital device but can only have little ability to effectively use it.
In this article, we will explore methods and strategies to engage with the digital illiterate in healthcare.
Involve people with low digital skills in the testing phase
Including people with low capabilities of using technology can be a way to involve these potential users when designing or testing a health platform or app. Providers can understand which barriers are easier to remove and which require training or more advanced digital knowledge.
Interactive, accessible, and easy-to-use platforms
The traditional method is to hand over a stack of papers to fill or read, but it is outdated and lacks engagement and motivation. However, scanning the documents and sending them as PDFs cannot be considered a digital approach.
Interactive platforms, combinedwith video or audio content (like podcasts), can engage people and simplify the information or tasks. Badges, awards, or other methods to show progress can encourage patients. Contents, data, and other information need to be organizedinan intuitive and easy-to-use dashboard: the easiest the interface is, the better elderly people can use it.
Artificial Intelligence, the future of digital health
Artificial Intelligence technologies are the future of telemedicine. Thanks to Machine Learning, a software can learn from the patients’ outcomes and habits and predict their needs. Virtual assistants can interact with patients with personalized and empathic messages, while sensors can directly monitor people in their homes. Moreover, robots could be used as real collaborators, especially in critical situations like the Covid-19 pandemic where human contacts must be reduced.
Pat, the empathetic chatbot to engage all patients
Patchai has developed an innovative platform to interact with patients while collecting Real World Evidence. The easy-to-use and intuitive interface can be used by anyone. Thanks to the proprietary CO-PRO® technology,Patchai virtual assistant can communicate with personalized and empathetic messages in multiple languages.
Patchai develops intelligent digital health engagement solutions for decentralized clinical studies. The company has received funding under the Smart&Start Italia program. The funding supported the company to develop its clinical research and standard care platforms and to internalize core functions (IT, business development, marketing&sales, medical affairs, clinical operations, human resources). The company will continue to advance the predictive capabilities of the CO-PRO® technology and the IoT integration of its products.