Thursday, September 29, 2011

"This is My Laptop: The Digital Divide is SOOOO 90s

For the past two years we've been doing a study of how low income, under-educated and underserved inner city people are able to use and respond to patient electronic medical records.  At every turn from focus groups to one-on-one usability testing in our lab, we've been surprised and excited about their enthusiasm.  Probably nothing has surprised us more than the reality that 99% of our study population has cell phone, and more than 60% of them are smart phones!

"THIS IS MY LAPTOP"  study participants say to us. 


Many of our study participants seem to have leapfrogged over the laptop and home computer step in our digital evolution.  Their lives are happening on mobile. (witness how many times our usability sessions were interrupted by calls and text messages)
Are we ready to be relevant to this new reality?  What does health literacy mean in this new mobile landscape?

Current surveys  shows that 46% of non-Hispanic Blacks and 51% of English-speaking Hispanics use their cell phones for internet access.  This is compared to 33% non-Hispanic white Americans.
(PEW Internet & American Life study

More interesting findings about health related online use from the folks at NCI:
Chou, WS et al. 2009. Social Media Use in the US: Implications for health communication, JMIR, 1(4): e48.
Chou, WS et al. 2011. Health-related Internet Use among Cancer Survivors: Data from Health Information National Trends Survey, 2003-2008. J Cancer Survivorship.

 I'm reminded of the TV commercial for the kitchen faucet. 

This is my laptop.  Can you build a health communication system around it?

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