eHealth literacy interventions for older adults: a systematic review of the literature

J Med Internet Res. 2014 Nov 10;16(11):e225. doi: 10.2196/jmir.3318.


Background: eHealth resources offer new opportunities for older adults to access health information online, connect with others with shared health interests, and manage their health. However, older adults often lack sufficient eHealth literacy to maximize their benefit from these resources.

Objective: This review evaluates the research design, methods, and findings of eHealth literacy interventions for older adults.

Methods: A systematic review of peer-reviewed research articles from 28 databases in 9 fields was carried out in January 2013. Four rounds of screening of articles in these databases resulted in a final sample of 23 articles.

Results: Findings indicated a significant gap in the literature for eHealth literacy interventions evaluating health outcomes as the outcome of interest, a lack of theory-based interventions, and few studies applied high-quality research design.

Conclusions: Our findings emphasize the need for researchers to develop and assess theory-based interventions applying high-quality research design in eHealth literacy interventions targeting the older population.

Keywords: aging; computers; health literacy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Computer Literacy*
  • Consumer Health Information*
  • Databases as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Literacy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Telemedicine*