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Telemedicine and eHealth Literacy in the Era of COVID-19: A Cross-Sectional Study in a Peripheral Clinic in Israel

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Department of Public Health, Ashkelon Academic College, 12 Ben Tzvi St., Ashkelon 78211, Israel
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Department of Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva 84105, Israel
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Giulio Nittari
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9556; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189556
Received: 11 August 2021 / Revised: 5 September 2021 / Accepted: 6 September 2021 / Published: 10 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Telemedicine in the Era of COVID-19)
The COVID-19 pandemic mandating isolation, quarantine, and social distancing has accelerated and expanded the use of telemedicine. This study examines the extent of the use of telemedicine and the relationship between eHealth literacy and satisfaction with using telemedicine during the pandemic. A total of 156 participants from a clinic in a peripheral community in southern Israel completed an online questionnaire. We found that 85% knew how to use the internet for health information, but only one third felt safe using it to make health decisions. Furthermore, 93% used the internet for technical needs, such as renewing prescriptions or making a doctor’s appointment. Even lower use for telemedicine was found (38%) for consultation or treatment sessions. A positive association was found between eHealth literacy and satisfaction variables with using telemedicine (rp = 0.39, p < 0.001). Although respondents understood the benefits of telemedicine, they were not satisfied nor interested in online sessions after the epidemic’s end, preferring a meeting involving personal interaction. Young people and academics benefit more from telemedicine, thereby creating usage gaps and potentially increasing existing inequality. We recommend developing intervention programs, especially among vulnerable populations, to strengthen eHealth literacy and remove barriers causing skepticism about the use of telemedicine during and after the pandemic. View Full-Text
Keywords: telemedicine; eHealth literacy; internet; access; periphery; COVID-19 telemedicine; eHealth literacy; internet; access; periphery; COVID-19
MDPI and ACS Style

Dopelt, K.; Avni, N.; Haimov-Sadikov, Y.; Golan, I.; Davidovitch, N. Telemedicine and eHealth Literacy in the Era of COVID-19: A Cross-Sectional Study in a Peripheral Clinic in Israel. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 9556. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189556

AMA Style

Dopelt K, Avni N, Haimov-Sadikov Y, Golan I, Davidovitch N. Telemedicine and eHealth Literacy in the Era of COVID-19: A Cross-Sectional Study in a Peripheral Clinic in Israel. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(18):9556. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189556

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dopelt, Keren, Nofar Avni, Yana Haimov-Sadikov, Iris Golan, and Nadav Davidovitch. 2021. "Telemedicine and eHealth Literacy in the Era of COVID-19: A Cross-Sectional Study in a Peripheral Clinic in Israel" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 18: 9556. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189556

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