Health literacy, health literacy interventions and decision-making: a systematic literature review

Maedeh Ghorbanian Zolbin, Isto Huvila, Shahrokh Nikou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to assess the relationship between elderly people's health literacy skills and those people's decision to make use of digital health service platforms. Despite the substantial influence of digitisation on the delivery of healthcare services, understanding how health intervention strategies might help empower elderly people's health literacy skills is critical. Design/methodology/approach: This paper analyses the existing trends in research on the convergence of health literacy, health intervention programmes and digital health service platforms by reviewing 34 studies published between 2000 and 2020. Findings: The findings of the review indicate three primary themes (health literacy skills, health management competency and attitude/confidence), which provide a summary of the current literature, and in all three the results show that health intervention programmes help to enhance health literacy skills of elderly people. Based on the review results and by organising the fragmented status quo of health intervention research, the authors develop a comprehensive research model and identify future research directions for research in this domain. Practical implications: The findings will be useful to health professionals in two ways: (1) the findings provide practical information about the growing need to implement health literacy intervention programmes to satisfy elderly people's appetite for accessing health services due to cognitive and physiological impairments, and (2) the finding help them to understand that with digital health platforms, elderly people have quicker access to health services, improving the quality of care provided to them. Originality/value: This paper presents a comprehensive research model for analysing the impact of health literacy skills on older people's ability and intention to access digital health information sources, considering various health intervention approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-428
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Documentation
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Health literacy
  • Elderly people
  • Health decision-making
  • Health interventions
  • Digitalisation
  • E-Health services


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