Tag Archives: Digital literacy

The need to improve digital literacy in healthcare

14 Feb

Being involved in education and technology, and being an employee at a healthcare organization with over 25,000 staff, one thing always stands out – some staff are incredibly tech-savvy, while others would rather never touch a computer.

Of course, the problem with this wide-range of people is that they work for the same organization.

As organizations become increasingly technology focused, the gap between those who “do” computers and those who “don’t” presents problems to organizations, from how they work, to how they communicate.

Obviously the “digital divide” between the tech-savvy and the technophobes needs to be reduced. But how?

Arguably, the approach to this problem over the last 10 years has been to offer software training classes, e.g. Word, Outlook, Excel etc …

Has this approach worked? Well, from my own perspective the results are mixed. Training on specific software certainly improves skills. But this only happens if staff actually attend classes. Many technophobes are fearful of software specific classes because they are so specific, and as such don’t attend. In the meantime, the tech-savvy embrace the specific classes offered, widening the digital divide further.

Naturally this leads me to more generic “digital literacy” classes. And here’s the problem. Who has run a digital literacy class at an organization? Anyone? No, I have never seen or even heard of a digital literacy class being offered at an organization. Yet, running such a class that focuses on locating, organizing, understanding, evaluating and analyzing information using digital technology has the potential to transform the workforce of an organization.

Instead of offering the same old software specific classes, perhaps we should be offering something new?