What is a good match?

Definitions: eHealth and digital literacy


The clinical picture of the world’s population is changing. Such a change requires restructuring. Therefore, the healthcare system targets its efforts to a greater extent than before to help the individual citizen deal with their everyday life with an illness. As part of the restructuring process, the healthcare system uses new technology in care and treatment. However, in order for citizens to actually achieve the benefits of new technology in healthcare, it is important that you as a healthcare professional can create the right match between citizen and technology. To ensure a match, an assessment needs to be made. This theme will prepare you for making these kinds of assessments by describing the most important elements to be considered in the match-making between technology and citizen.


A relatively recent healthcare practice supported by electronic processes and communication. eHealth is defined as “the use of information and communication technology to support health and healthcare”. Increasingly, citizens are using digital technology to support their own health and healthcare decision-making. Ultimately, this positively empowers citizens in obtaining the ability to navigate in their health and well-being by the use of electronic communication.

Digital literacy

Refers to an individual’s ability to find, evaluate and communicate information through typing and other media on various digital platforms. It is evaluated by an individual’s grammar, composition, typing skills and ability to produce text, images, audio and designs using technology. Or said in another way: “the ability to use information and communication technology to find, evaluate, create and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical competencies”.


Usability may be broadly defined as ‘the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use’ (ISO 9241). The usability of a technology is determined not only by its user–computer interactions, but also by the degree to which it can be successfully integrated to perform tasks in the intended work environment. Therefore, usability is evaluated through the interaction of user, system, and task in a specified setting. The sociotechnical perspective also indicates that the technical features of health IT interact with the social features of a healthcare work environment. The meaning of usability should therefore be composed of four major components: user, tool, task, and environment.

Health literacy and accessibility

Health literacy is defined by Healthy People 2030 and addresses both personal health literacy and organizational health literacy and provides the following definitions:

  • Personal health literacy
    Personal health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others.
  • Organizational health literacy
    Organizational health literacy is the degree to which organizations equitably enable individuals to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others.

Source / References

Questions for reflection

  • Discuss with your colleagues what you understand by the terms eHealth and digital literacy.
  • Why are these terms relevant when assessing matches between technology and citizen?
  • If possible, use examples from your professional experience in your reflections.