IGF 2023 WS #54 Equi-Tech-ity: Close the gap with digital health literacy

Tuesday, 10th October, 2023 (04:00 UTC) - Tuesday, 10th October, 2023 (05:30 UTC)
WS 3 – Annex Hall 2

Digital Divides & Inclusion
Affordable Access
Digital, Media, and Information Literacy
Gender Digital Divide
Skills Building for Basic and Advanced Technologies (Meaningful Access)

Organizer 1: Man Hei Connie Siu, 🔒International Telecommunication Union
Organizer 2: Ananya Singh, USAID Digital Youth Council
Organizer 3: Vallarie Wendy Yiega, 🔒
Organizer 4: Keolebogile Rantsetse, 🔒
Organizer 5: Neli Odishvili, CEO of Internet Development Initiative
Organizer 6: Markus Trætli, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Speaker 1: Geralyn Miller, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Rajendra Gupta, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Debbie Rogers, Technical Community, African Group
Speaker 4: Kazuya Yoshimura, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 5: Yawri Carr, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Man Hei Connie Siu, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator

Vallarie Wendy Yiega, Private Sector, African Group


Neli Odishvili, Civil Society, Eastern European Group


Round Table - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

A. How can comprehensive frameworks and assessment tools be developed to capture and assess different dimensions of digital health literacy, ensuring holistic understanding of individuals' abilities in navigating digital health information and services? B. What strategies towards health equity can be adopted to ensure digital health literacy programs effectively address unique needs and challenges faced by marginalized communities, promote inclusivity and equitable access to digital health resources? C. How can partnerships between key stakeholders including healthcare providers, educational institutions, technology companies, and governments be leveraged to enhance digital health literacy skills, foster collaboration and knowledge sharing to advance health equity?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Internet Governance newcomers will learn about digital health, its benefits and obstacles particularly during COVID-19, and inequalities impacting marginalized communities, including women. Participants with expertise/interests in digital health, policy, digital literacy, and inclusion will gain insights into the complexities of digital health literacy and digital divide's relation to health equity; they will also learn and innovate ideas for strategies to improve digital health literacy and promote fair access to healthcare through technology and policy measures from various key stakeholder perspectives, as well as gain knowledge of policies, regulations, and international cooperation to bridge the digital divide and ensure equitable digital health access. With shared perspectives and experiences from speakers of different regions, stakeholder groups and age, participants could contribute to shaping policy recommendations, guidelines, and frameworks, alongside engaging in knowledge-sharing and potential collaborations with both onsite and online participants from diverse backgrounds, all for ensuring digital health for everyone.


Since 2005, the World Health Assembly encouraged Member States to formulate plans for eHealth services, and healthcare industries have since then embraced digital technologies to improve health coverage, preparedness for health crises, and overall well-being. The progress made through technological advancements, especially during the pandemic, also enabled patient engagement technologies; and alongside technology-enabled breakthroughs in governments and private sectors, health-related care and data became more accessible and affordable. However, has digital health improved overall health equity, or has inadequate implementation and addressing of challenges worsened health inequity and digital divide? 64% globally have technological access, but digital literacy rates are significantly lower. Women also face barriers to healthcare access and information (e.g. gender-based discrimination, limited resources). While the pandemic caused a telehealth surge to fill care access gaps (e.g. more opting for virtual care, remote patient monitoring), low digital health literacy intensifies health disparities and hinders patient engagement, with research supporting how demographics from rural, low-income, and marginalized backgrounds provide/use telehealth less, which widens digital divide and threaten health equity advances. This workshop explores complex dynamics between and seeks innovative policy solutions to challenges regarding digital health literacy, digital divide and health equity, all while recognising digital health potential in advancing healthcare outcomes, but also acknowledging that without adequate digital health literacy, digital divide and thus existing health inequities will be worsened. The workshop will first delve into the multifaceted concept and challenges of low digital health literacy, alongside strategies to enhance digital health literacy across marginalised populations. Concerning the health equity and digital divide intersection, strategies will then be identified surrounding low digital health literacy and related challenges to promote equitable digital health access, all by addressing barriers faced by diverse populations and exploring policy measures to bridge the digital divide from key stakeholder perspectives.

Expected Outcomes

The workshop aims to generate practical and actionable outcomes that contribute to the development and implementation of effective policies and programs to enhance digital health literacy, promote health equity, and foster collaboration among key stakeholders. Key indicators, methodologies, and evaluation criteria in digital health literacy will be identified to create comprehensive frameworks and assessment tools; strategies will be proposed to address challenges faced by marginalized communities and promote inclusivity and equitable access to digital health resources; and collaborative initiatives and best practices will be shared to encourage partnerships among stakeholders. A survey will follow the workshop and contribute to our final report along with participants' QnA and feedback. A report on workshop results will be published on the IGF website for participants and interested parties. The report and blogs will be shared with Internet Governance and youth communities in different regions to raise awareness, share findings, and inspire further ideas.

Hybrid Format: In the Q&A session, both remote and onsite participation is welcomed and highly encouraged in this workshop. With remote participants, the onsite and online moderators will work together to ensure the smooth flow of online participation, such that the online community will have opportunities to engage in discussions and raise questions with an alternating pattern between onsite and remote participation. Online participants could input their questions into the QnA function of the video conferencing platform, and the online moderator would moderate the flow, providing online participants with the opportunity to have their questions answered by our speakers. Online collaboration tools, such as Mural, will be used for interactive exercises and brainstorming sessions; online polling tools will gather instant feedback from both onsite and online participants; and designated hashtags will promote online discussions and insight sharing on social media platforms, promoting engagement and extending the workshop's reach beyond the event.