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IC-Health Report Summary

Project ID: 727474
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.1.4.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - IC-Health (Improving digital health literacy in Europe)

Reporting period: 2016-11-01 to 2017-10-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Citizens' digital health literacy is an essential element for successful eHealth deployment. However, citizens often do not have the necessary skills to find, understand and appraise online health information and apply their knowledge to make health decisions. Digitally health literate citizens are empowered to play a more active role in their health self-management, resulting in improved prevention, adherence to a healthier lifestyle and better health outcomes.

IC-Health provides support for the improvement of digital health literacy in Europe. The project aims at testing a new model of digital health literacy intervention development and application based on the co-creation of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to enhance EU citizens’ skills on how to search, understand and appraise online health information.

In particular, IC-Health will design 35 open access online courses (MOOCs), in eight different national languages, for different population cohorts including children, adolescents, pregnant and lactating women, elderly and people affected or susceptible to be affected by type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

The identified population cohorts, along with health professionals, academics and other practitioners, are organised in Communities of Practice (CoPs) and being involved directly in the co-creation of the MOOCs content and structure. Once the courses are designed, they will be tested by the members of the CoPs and by other users. MOOCs use and impact will be monitored and assessed in order to ensure their uptake and sustainability beyond the duration of the project.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The starting point of the project to prepare the ground for shaping and facilitating the co-creation of the 35 MOOCs were the activities implemented under WP1 – Analysis of population cohorts and current scenarios of digital health literacy (DHL).

First of all, a review of key factors, drivers, barriers and trends on digital health literacy was conducted with the purpose of carrying out an analysis of the elements that affect digital health literacy and of identifying evidence-based digital health promoting factors. Secondly, for each project country (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom) the profile of each target group’s levels of digital literacy (DL), health literacy (HL) and digital health literacy (DHL) was compiled by implementing three main tasks:
1. Administration of a survey to explore project population cohorts’ behaviours and integrate the knowledge gathered from literature review.
2. Organisation of focus groups with each project target group to refine/complement the information collected through the survey.
3. Analysis of literature and secondary sources available at national level (either peer-reviewed scientific publications or statistics/national data).
Thirdly, the results of these first tasks served to feed the development of a strategy based on social marketing approach to engage target groups in the co-creation phase and later in the use of MOOCs.

After the analysis of trends and scenarios on DHL and of IC-Health population cohorts, to pave the way for an effective co-creation process for MOOC development, the activities of WP2 – Co-creation methodology and tools were implemented. The aim was to lead to the establishment of 35 Communities of Practice (one per target group per project country) and to the effective implementation of face-to-face and online co-creation activities.

The activities for WP2 began with the drafting of a co-creation methodology aimed at guiding the co-creation process of the MOOCs with target groups, experts and other relevant stakeholders in project countries. Secondly, the IC-Health web-based Community Platform was released (URL: This platform is accessible upon registration and individuals recruited for the Communities of Practice have been invited to register as part of the activities they consent to participate, together with other individuals interested in taking part in project online co-creation. Thirdly, national coordinators were provided with theoretical and practical training on the co-creation methodology and the steps to be followed to implement it efficiently.

The tasks implemented under WP1 and WP2 have been pivotal for the start of WP3 – Co-creation and MOOC development, which in fact relates with co-creation activities and development, use and fine-tuning of the MOOCs and their evaluation and impact assessment. Partners responsible for co-creation at national level drafted their methodology for carrying out offline and online co-creation, they set their calendar for face-to-face co-creation sessions and then launched offline and online co-creation starting from October 2017.

The final output of the co-creation process will be the development of 35 MOOCs, which will be released at M18 (April 2018) and massively disseminated through the project channels (social media and project website) and other specific dissemination activities such as promotional video, participation in events, newsletters.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The activities implemented in the first year of the project - along with dissemination and management and coordination tasks - aimed to prepare a solid base for co-creation process and development and use of MOOCs.

WP1 activities provided easy and accessible material on current available data evidence on digital health literacy in a way to raise awareness among EU citizens on the opportunities of eHealth tools and of the potential and possibilities of the eHealth. In particular, these activities aimed to i) describe the barriers and constrains to successful deployment of eHealth and to the improvement of citizens’ digital health literacy at national and EU level, ii) provide a knowledge and understanding of the levels of DL, HL and DHL of these target populations as well as their related normative and felt and expressed needs and interests, and iii) provide a starting point for the engagement with population cohorts at national level. Based on these outcomes, a methodology to guide and implement the co-creation process in project countries was released, a capacity building process for national coordinators of the Communities of Practice (CoPs) put into place and the recruitment of CoPs launched.

The expected results of the second year of the project will be the co-creation of 35 MOOCs and their testing, use, fine-tuning and assessment. Another key task planned for the second year is the exploitation of the developed MOOCs at wider scale and beyond the duration of the project.

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