"Health Literacy as a Resource for Self-care: Implications for Designing Technology Support"
Health literacy, while conceptualized and measured in diverse ways, is clearly important for health behaviors and outcomes among patients with chronic illness. The process-knowledge model situates health literacy in the arena of cognitive aging theory and findings. The model analyzes health literacy in terms of broader cognitive resources that tend to decline with age (processing capacity such as working memory) or that tend to increase with age (general and domain-specific knowledge). Consistent with this framework, we have found that memory for self-care information is explained in part by measures of processing capacity and knowledge among older adults with hypertension and older adults with diabetes. Moreover, knowledge can offset the impact of processing capacity limits on memory for self-care information. Such findings suggest that self-care among adults with diverse health literacy can be improved when technology reduces demands on older adults’ processing capacity and leverages their existing knowledge. To investigate links between health literacy and technology, we have expanded the process-capacity framework to encompass intention to perform self-care behaviors and other concepts relevant to behavior change. This framework guides current work that explores the use of computer agents for patient education and engagement in patient portals to Electronic Health Records and other digital environments.
Reception to follow in JS Coon 2nd Floor Atrium