Objective: Parent use of technology to manage child health issues has the potential to improve access and health outcomes. Few studies have examined how parent health literacy affects usage of Internet and cell phone technologies for health management. Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of data collected as part of a randomized controlled experiment in 3 urban pediatric clinics. English- and Spanish-speaking parents (n = 858) of children ≤8 years answered questions regarding use of and preferences related to Internet and cell phone technologies. Parent health literacy was measured using the Newest Vital Sign. Results: The majority of parents were high Internet (70.2%) and cell phone (85.1%) users (multiple times a day). A total of 75.1% had limited health literacy (32.1% low, 43.0% marginal). Parents with higher health literacy levels had greater Internet and cell phone use (adequate vs low: adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.7 [confidence interval, 1.2–2.5]) and were more likely to use them for health management (AOR, 1.5 [confidence interval, 1.2–1.8]); those with higher health literacy levels were more likely to use the Internet for provider communication (adequate vs marginal vs low: 25.0% vs 18.0% vs 12.0%, P =.001) and health-related cell phone apps (40.6% vs 29.7% vs 16.4%, P <.001). Overall preference for using technology for provider communication was high (∼70%) and did not differ by health literacy, although Internet and cell phone apps were preferred by higher literacy parents; no differences were seen for texting. Conclusions: Health literacy–associated disparities in parent use of Internet and cell phone technologies exist, but parents’ desire for use of these technologies for provider communication was overall high and did not differ by health literacy.
- health literacy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health