- Daily News for Senior Citizens

  FRONT PAGE Aging • Health • Alzheimer's - Mental • Nutrition • Medicare & Medicaid Politics  • Fitness  • Social Security • Alerts • Sex Health • Features • Retirement  Elder Care  >Search  >Senior Links


Health and Medicine for Seniors

Seniors May Dash Hopes for Broader Use of Internet for Health Information

Few seniors use internet for health information, especially the large number with low health literacy

senior woman using laptop computerNov. 12, 2014 - Providing health information on the internet may not be the “cure all” that it is hoped to be, at least for senior citizens. A new study shows few Americans 65 or older use the internet to find health information and many seniors have low health literacy. Among those with poor knowledge about health, less than ten percent use the internet to seek health information. The new concern is that greater reliance on digital health information will just leave many seniors further behind.

The research report is by Helen Levy of the University of Michigan in the US, who led the first-ever study to show that elderly people’s knowledge of health matters, so-called health literacy, also predicts how and if they use the internet.

 The findings appear in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, published by Springer.


Related Archive Stories


Seniors Should Heed Study Showing Electronic Health Records Benefit Patients and Physicians

Majority of physicians said they were alerted to a potential medication error or critical lab value by an electronic health record; one-third say they help spot needed tests; Medicare offers physicians incentive

By Sharyn Alden, HBNS Contributing Writer

Jan. 2, 2014

Read the latest news
> Health & Medicine
Today's Headlines


Substantial resources and attention have been invested recently in health information technology in the US, for example by providing electronic medical records online. It is unclear, however, whether elderly patients are willing and able to put this innovation to full use. Levy’s team therefore sought to establish if there is a link between people’s levels of health literacy and their use of the internet to find information.

Data was analyzed from the 2009 and 2010 Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative survey of more than 20,000 Americans 65 years and older.

Approximately 1,400 of the participants were queried about how often they used the internet for whatever purpose and, in particular, how often they searched for health and medical information. Their health literacy was assessed using the revised Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine questionnaire. They also rated how confident they felt about filling out medical forms.

The analysis revealed that the internet was a port of call to gain health information for 31.9 percent of the elderly participants who were well versed in health matters, while only 9.7 percent of those with low health literacy used it.

Elderly Americans with low health literacy are less likely to use the internet at all. If members of this group do surf the web, it is generally not to search for medical or health information. Health literacy was therefore found to be a significant predictor of what people do once they are online.

The analysis also showed that a person’s level of health literacy is a more important predictor of whether he or she will use the internet to get medical or health information rather than his or her cognitive functioning. Levy therefore suggests that interventions specifically targeting health literacy among older adults may help prevent a widening of the “digital divide” as patients are increasingly expected to obtain medical information online.

“Health information technology, like any innovation in health care, offers both the promise of significant benefits and the risk that these benefits will not be shared equally,” warns Levy. “Low health literacy may attenuate the effectiveness of web-based interventions to improve the health of vulnerable populations.”

>> About the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Follow on  and 


> Medical Malpractice,

> Nursing Home Abuse,

> Personal Injury

Our Experienced Lawyers Can Help

Beth Janicek, Board Certified Personal Injury Attorney"We win because we care, we prepare and we have no fear," Beth Janicek, board certified personal injury attorney


Free Consultation on your case.

Call Now Toll Free


or Send Email

More at our Website



Search for more about this topic on

Google Web

Keep up with the latest news for senior citizens, baby boomers

Click to More Senior News on the Front Page





Published by New Tech Media -

Other New Tech Media sites include,,,, etc.