eHealth Literacy as a Mediator of Health Behaviors

  • David R. KaufmanEmail author
  • Jelena Mirkovic
  • Connie Chan
Part of the Health Informatics book series (HI)


eHealth literacy names a set of core literacies involved in the meaningful and productive use of health technologies. In this chapter, we present an integrative theoretical and methodological cognitive framework for elucidating the nature of these barriers and for fashioning design solutions. The Chan–Kaufman analytic framework differs from other frameworks in that the goals are to develop a diagnostic approach rather than a screening tool. The framework can be used to classify task demands and characterize the barriers encountered in users’ task performance. The methods are illustrated in the context of a health information seeking problem. We then review the research pertaining to the challenges in each of the consumer health domains including information seeking, patient portals, mHealth, social media, and telemedicine. The chapter discusses implications that need to be addressed when developing new health related programs and tools. eHealth tools afford an almost infinite number of new means to achieve health behavior change in the promotion of wellness and in the monitoring and management of chronic illness. The essential question is how do we tune these technologies such that they better address the needs of patients and health consumers at varying levels of eHealth literacy.


eHealth literacy Health behavior change Digital divide Task-analytic framework Cognitive complexity Health information seeking Patient portals Social media mHealth Telemedicine 



This work was supported by (1) a grant from the National Institute for Nursing Research (1R21NR010710) awarded to David Kaufman and (2) the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Columbia University. Connie Chan was supported by NLM pre-doctoral fellowship T 15-LM007079.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • David R. Kaufman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jelena Mirkovic
    • 2
  • Connie Chan
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical InformaticsArizona State UniversityScottsdaleUSA
  2. 2.Center for Shared Decision Making and Collaborative Care ResearchOslo University HospitalOsloNorway
  3. 3.Colorado SpringsColoradoUSA

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