Researchers from RMIT University (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) have contributed to mapping digital health literacy in Europe, a crucial step toward shaping policies and practices across the region.
This initiative has taken place within the framework of the IDEAHL project, in which Consulta Europa actively participates. The project consortium, in collaboration with RMIT University’s research team in Australia and their Europe-based innovation center, has developed a user-friendly atlas for consolidating and visualizing health-related data found on the internet.
Known as the Global Health Literacy Atlas (GALH), this online tool is groundbreaking, offering interactive data that displays levels of health literacy and digital health literacy sourced from evidence-based studies conducted with citizens, patients, and healthcare professionals worldwide.
The international team involved in the EU-funded research program “Enhancing Digital Empowerment for Active and Healthy Living” (IDEAHL) has analyzed over 12,000 studies and examples of best practices. After collaborating with stakeholders in the health and technology sectors, they selected 450 examples of best practices from the past five years.
Subsequently, RMIT researchers worked in conjunction with the geospatial mapping company dMap to compile and visualize complex data into an easily accessible interactive map. This map not only allows for the download of raw data but also provides a list of resources related to initiatives, interventions, practices, and policies.
The emergence of this atlas addresses the current need for fast and reliable access to health data on the internet, as stated by Dr. Gabriela Irrazabal, Associate Researcher in Digital Health at RMIT Europe.
“While some websites provide links to health and digital health literacy studies, extracting and compiling data from multiple sources is time-consuming. Our atlas streamlines this process for users, presenting information in a way that is quickly and easily accessible,” she explained.
This recent European collaboration through the IDEAHL project lays the groundwork for future research: Butler-Henderson, Director of the RMIT Digital Health Hub, and her team are seeking funding to replicate the study in Australia.
While their initial focus was on Europe, the RMIT team is currently collaborating with the IDEAHL consortium to plan the global expansion of the atlas and incorporate other forms of health literacy, such as mental health and financial literacy.
The Global Health Literacy Atlas can be accessed at https://www.rmit.eu/galh
Learn more about the IDEAHL project here.