Background and importance The emergence of new technologies has allowed great advances in the way we communicate. The hospital pharmacy can take advantage of these technologies available to the entire population to improve communication and access between healthcare professionals and patients.
Aim and objectives To evaluate the level of digital health literacy of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), their technological profile and their preferred way of communicating with the hospital pharmacist (HP).
Material and methods This was a descriptive observational study conducted between March and October 2019 in patients who attended for a pharmaceutical consultation. The information was obtained through paper surveys conducted anonymously during the patient‘s visit. The information collected was transferred to a Google form and the data obtained were analysed in a spreadsheet using descriptive statistics.
The sections of the survey were: sociodemographic data, technological profile (TP), knowledge and use of digital health tools (KD), assessment of the level of digital health literacy (AD) (using the eHealth Literacy Scale-eHEALS) and preferred patient–HP way of communication (PC).
Results The survey was completed by 57 MS patients, 64.9% women (n=39), with an average age of 41.6 years.
TP: 94.7% (n=54) of patients owned and used a ‘smartphone’ daily, 49.1% (n=28) used a laptop and 28.1% (n=16) used a tablet.
KD: 55.4% (n=31) used Google as a source of health information, 26.8% (n=15) did not use the internet to find information about their disease or drug treatment and 8.9% (n=5) stated that they consulted websites recommended by their doctor, pharmacist or nurse. Regarding the most consulted online sources of information, 80% (n=44) visited Google and 14.5% (n=16) patient forums. The best known and used digital tools were WhatsApp (89.3%,n=50), Facebook (50.9%,n=29) and email (52.6%,n=30).
the average score obtained was 3.3±1.1.
PC: the preferred platform to communicate with the HP was instant messaging (IM) (61.5%), followed by email (48.1%) and telephone (42.3%). Most of the patients (56%) preferred to receive information from the HP when collecting medication, either monthly (39.6%) or during treatment changes (35.4%). In addition, 52% rated positively receiving information through IM.
Conclusion and relevance The surveyed patients have an acceptable level of digital health literacy and the majority used ‘smartphones’ and IM widely, making it a population of patients with a good technological profile for the development of mobile digital solutions based on instant communication. Despite this, patients prefer direct communication with the HP.
References and/or acknowledgements No conflict of interest.
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