Smartphones and Better Health

Health Literacy and Integrating Technology Colleagues,

I am starting a new discussion thread that may be of interest to those interested in technology -- especially smartphone technology -- solutions to better health and health literacy.

As you learn or read about new ways that smartphones or other portable Internet accessible devices can be used to help adult learners who may themselves have an illness or chronic disease, or who have a family member who might benefit from using smartphones or other Internet accessible devices for better health, please share that information in this thread. If you want to be sure to easily find it, make a note to use your  LINCS "Search" tab and search for "smartphones" or "better health" or "smartphones and better health, or just bookmark this page.

To begin, do any of your adult learners have -- or have a family member who has  -- liver problems? If so, this article from Bottom Line Blog and Radio, "How can your smartphone help your liver?" may be helpful.

Is this article interesting, of use to your students? Is this a discussion thread that interests you? Do you have other articles or information about using portable digital devices for health, managing chronic disease, communication with healthcare providers, and health literacy? If so please share them.


David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS Integrating Technology group






Thanks for starting this conversation. Research is starting to focus on the health literacy and wellness of individuals based on their access of healh literacy IT. The for main categories of health apps inlcude nutrition / fitness / activity apps and patient portals. Health Literacy and Health Information Technology Adoption: The Potential for a New Digital Divide  concluded: 

"Patients with low health literacy were less likely to use HIT tools or perceive them as easy or useful, but they perceived information on HIT as private. Given the fast-paced evolution of technology, there is a pressing need to further the understanding of how health literacy is related to HIT app adoption and usage. This will ensure that all users receive the full health benefits from these technological advances, in a manner that protects health information privacy, and that users engage with organizations and providers they trust.


Is EHealth the next digital divide? How can we address this in our classroom? 

Kathy Tracey, Moderator

Hi Kathy, and others,

It appears that e-health is the newest of many U.S. health disparity factors that might be addressed by community adult basic skills (including ESL/ESOL) programs. Other health disparities include: low literacy, lack of English language skills, being new to American culture and its medicines, and being poor. Some of the implications for adult basic skills (including English language) programs include the following, and perhaps others:

  • Expanding curricula for English language for immigrants students to include digital literacy skills for health contexts, an introduction to the community health system and how to understand, speak and write to health practitioners, and career pathways information that might help learners escape poverty and get family-sustaining wages and salaries
  • Expanding curricula for ABE/ASE and transition to college students to include digital literacy skills for health contexts; an introduction to the community health system and how to understand, speak and write to health practitioners; and career pathways information that might help some learners escape poverty and get family-sustaining wages and salaries
  • Exploration of community health-related funding to address some of the issues of an expanded health-related curriculum, training for teachers, expanded need for computer hardware, wireless access in classrooms for portable digital devices such as students' smartphones,  hi-speed broadband Internet access, and other costs
  • Partnerships with community health centers, especially Federally Qualified Community Health Centers whose mission is focused on the under-served: immigrants, residents with low-literacy, those living in poverty, and perhaps now also those with poor digital literacy skills
  • Teaching health navigation skills. I would love to see a new "health game" app in which, to win the user had to apply strategies to find specific community heslth services and navigate large health facilities to find specific services within them. We all have trouble navigating these services; those with the disparities listed above have an especially difficult -- or impossible -- challenge.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology grup